August 23, 2013
I’ve really been trying to keep out of the political rants over the last months… But recently there has been a lot of crap coming up that just makes me shake my head… Why do we have to be in everyone elses lives?
Okay, so what sparked this? Portland, Oregon. If you spend any amount of time following the news I’m sure you’ll soon hear about Portland rejecting flouride being added to their water supply. Doesn’t sound like a big deal huh? Yeah, it’s not.
I follow Ars Technica because sometimes they have an interesting perspective into the world of technology… You see, Ars is a part of a much larger network, that at one point I tried to join, but didn’t really put much effort into it. Ars Technica is a part of a large blogging network of amateur writers that includes some 30ish blogs where amateur bloggers are paid between $5 and $20 per article they submit in their given genre.
Anyways, being that Ars is the science genre of this blogging network they get a lot of “science as a religion” types that kinda just repeat what “all the cool science kids are saying” to be cool and sciency… So, when Portland rejected, yet another measure to add flouride to their water ars published an article from one of these science as a religion types that starts by saying “The treatment of drinking water with trace amounts of fluorine has a clear, positive effect in preventing tooth decay, and extensive studies (including some cases where water sources are naturally high in fluorine) have indicated that the levels used in water supplies have no adverse effects on health.”
These people have a very different definition of “clear” than myself though… Oregon published a health report on the rate of tooth decay in areas with flouride added to their water, and areas that do not.
53.7% of the kids in the non-fluoridated areas had one or more cavities
52.03% of kids in fluoridated areas had one or more cavities
47.81% of kids in the Portland water district (which is currently fluoride-free) had one or more cavities
Now, I’m not that into statistics… but I believe depending upon population, vs. number of those studied (which was far lower than the population) a 1.67% difference is essentially a tie in terms of the benefits of flouride in the water… not a clear positive effect… And so what if those apposing the bill are focusing on the trace amounts of impurities in the sodium flouride being used… Personally I don’t see any “clear” benefit to adding flouride to their water… and guess what I don’t live anywhere near Portland, so why would I spend so much time berating them for rejecting a “potential health risk” for something that obviously does not have clear health benefits… sounds like an extra cost to the people with absolutely no clear documented benefit.