Foreword (from the book)
Barry Groves has performed a considerable service to society by producing a clearly written book, which summarizes much of the scientific evidence available on the vexed question of the fluoridation of public drinking water supplies. The format of the book is based on a circular notice sent to UK dentists by the British Fluoridation Society (BFS), which detailed a series of questions that might be posed by patients and provides suggested answers to those questions. Barry Groves takes each question and the BFS answer in turn as the basis of a series of short chapters which then present what is known and published about each topic. This juxtaposition serves to put in stark relief the apparent evasive nature or clear bias of many of the BFS's suggested responses.
What are the most important
questions? Readers of this book will find that the science underpinning
the widespread introduction of drinking water fluoridation, with
the claim that it reduces dental decay, appears decidedly thin
and shaky. For instance, the data presented shows that there
are many examples of dental decay rates being higher in fluoridated
than in non-fluoridated areas.
What other therapeutic prophylactic substance has ever been allowed to be administered to patients, unsupervised, with no control over consumption and no recommendation for dose? Fluoride is recognized as a cumulative toxic substance and there is considerable scientific evidence to show that a proportion of the population is liable to consume more fluoride than is advisable. This can lead, amongst other conditions, to osteoporosis. Since the concept of fluoridating public water supplies was introduced we have become exposed to many other sources, through fluoridated dentifrices, tablets, and dental treatments, which has exacerbated the problem. In addition, for any drug that has ever been produced, there is a minority of the population who, because of their genetic make up, are peculiarly susceptible to its toxic properties. Furthermore there are periods, such as fetal life, infancy and extreme old age, when the body's ability to detoxify substances and excrete them are less than optimal. It appears that few considerations for such vulnerabilities in water fluoridation have been made.
Whatever the merits of the case, and you can judge those for yourselves, I am personally opposed in principle to the mass medication of whole populations. There is no shortage of products containing fluoride for people to be able to make an informed choice on their own behalf and that of their families. In addition there are no overwhelming arguments for the necessity of such treatment. This combined with the genetic susceptibility of some, as outlined above, makes the whole proposition subject to question on an ethical basis, as discussed in this book.
The book contains a number of accounts of actions that have been taken against dentists and academics who have had the temerity to question the wisdom of mass fluoridation. There would appear to have been clear violations of academic freedom. With a majority of young academics appointed to short term contracts, this is something that should exercise the minds of all those who value the importance of freedom and independence of thought amongst scientists. If academic freedom is ever allowed to be strangled then the type of data that has made the writing of this book possible will become very scarce.
I hope that you will enjoy this book, which must be regarded as essential reading for those who wish to enter an informed debate on this topic. As a microscopist who has had a research interest in the formation and build up of dental plaque and a toxico-pathologist with an interest in the effect of toxic substances on development, I have found this volume to be in turn informative, readable and thought provoking. When you have finished reading, if you come to the same conclusion, recommend it to others!
Dr C Vyvyan Howard MB, ChB,
The following are the chapters in the book.
Amazon.com (U.S.) or Amazon.com (UK)
National Pure Water Association