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Fluoride gets the brush-off. (North America).

CANADA -- TWO Canadian dental researchers, writing in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, have characterized the practice of fluoridation as "immoral." Howard Cohen, Ph.D. and University of Toronto Professor David Locker reviewed studies on the benefits of fluoridation and concluded that "the quality of the evidence provided by these studies is poor." Locker, who is also the director of the university's Dental Health Services Research Unit concluded that most studies "exaggerated" the benefits of fluoridation and "minimized" the risks. "The percentage of the population with severe enough dental fluorosis requiring costly dental restorations to repair defective tooth structure has been steadily increasing," Locker and Cohen wrote. Hardy Limeback, the university's Head of Preventative Dentistry, concurs that "Dental fluorosis should never have been classified as a simple `cosmetic' side effect -- it is a biomarker for systemic fluoride poisoning during early childhood." Limeback cited studies showing that systemic fluoride exposure can "permanently affect bone and tooth growth and the mechanical properties of these hard tissues." Noting that modern fluoridation standards rely on epidemiotogical data "collected more than 50 years ago," Cohen and Locker called for "new guidelines ... based on sound, up-to-date science." In the absence of unequivocal evidence that fluoridation's benefits outweigh its risks, Cohen and Locker concluded that "the moral status of advocacy for this practice is, at best, indeterminate and could perhaps be considered immoral." [www.fluoridealert.org]
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Publication:Earth Island Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2002
Words:230
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