(NaturalNews) Membership-only warehouse club chain Costco is asking the general public a question: "Should our drinking water be fluoridated?" The company wants you to vote on that question, which you can do here.
As part of the debate, Costco's publication, the Costco Connection, features opinions about the issue from both sides of the argument. Arguing in favor of fluoridation is Howard Pollick, a clinical professor of preventive and restorative dentistry and a member of the American Dental Association's National Fluoridation Advisory Committee. Taking the "no fluoride" side is Paul Connett, co-author of The Case Against Fluoride and the director of the Fluoride Action Network.
Below are some excerpts from each expert.
"Fluoride is nature's cavity fighter. It is naturally present in all water. Community water fluoridation is simply the adjustment of the amount of naturally occurring fluoride to the recommended amount to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoridated water is regulated by sophisticated controls under direct supervision by trained water engineers.
"Critics also allege that fluoridated water is associated with lower IQ. However, the studies do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Both the 2006 National Research Council report and an independent review from England noted many study limitations that make it difficult, if not impossible, to assess these studies' validity.
"The bottom line is that water fluoridation remains the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay."
"Most countries in the world (including 97% of Europe) do not fluoridate their water. Yet, tooth decay has been coming down as fast in non-fluoridated countries as in fluoridated ones, according to a World Health Organization study.
"It is a poor medical practice to use the water supply to deliver medicine. You cannot control the dose or who gets the medicine, and it violates the individual's right to informed consent to medical treatment.
"Proponents argue that the level at which we fluoridate - 1 part per million (ppm) - is so small that it couldn't possibly hurt anyone. However, 1 ppm is 250 times the level found in mothers' milk. It is reckless to give a bottle-fed baby 250 times more fluoride than nature intended.
"Today our children are being grossly overexposed to fluoride, as evidenced by a CDC study indicating that 41% of U.S. children age 12 to 15 have dental fluorosis (irreversible damage to the enamel). More worrying are the many animal and human studies showing that fluoride is a neurotoxin. For example, a Harvard team showed that out of 27 studies, 26 found a lowering of IQ in children exposed to fluoride, with an average loss of 7 IQ points, which is substantial.
"Alternative solutions are available. The Childsmile program in Scotland has shown that large reductions in tooth decay can be achieved in low-income families with cost-effective programs involving teaching tooth-brushing in nursery schools, educating parents on better diets and providing topical fluoride varnishes to those most vulnerable."
You can read the full arguments here and don't forget to vote!