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February 24, 2015

Fluoride Makes You Fat, Sad and Tired

I met my first anarchist while working for the Western Morning News in Plymouth in the early 1960s.  David Baker was a features sub-editor, an incorrigible lefty (obviously) but one with a refreshingly independent mind.  He lived in a small remote  cottage near Saltash, on the Cornish side of the river Tamar, with  his wife and four young children, and always came to work on an old 500cc motorbike.

We disagreed strongly on most political and religious matters, as you would expect, but Dave once surprised me by stating that he thought Catholicism was at least  a logical and coherent faith, unlike what he called “the gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild religion” on which he had been reared. Unlike most lefties, he was a strong believer in lifelong fidelity to one spouse. He used to bequeath me back copies of an anarchist monthly, the front covers of which portrayed the British royal coat of arms being smashed to pieces. Some of the articles were quite thought-provoking.  A paradox of anarchism is the belief its adherents share with most proper conservatives—that the state should interfere as little as possible in the private lives of individuals.

David had the humility to be amused by the anecdote (I think a true one) that during the Spanish civil war one anarchist writer solemnly expressed the opinion that Spanish anarchy would never succeed until it was better organised. The anarchists did in fact run Barcelona for quite some time, by all accounts rather successfully—so much so that the communists found it necessary to massacre them.

Anyway, David did at least succeed in converting me to one of his opinions: a firm hostility to compulsory mass medication—in particular to the fluoridation of the public water supplies with the aim of combatting tooth decay. I remember him snorting contemptuously:  “You might as well put aspirin in the water to stop people getting headaches.”

Now it looks as though David’s scepticism and mine has been vindicated. Researchers from the University of Kent, in a study covering 98 per cent of General Practices in England have discovered that high rates of underactive thyroid were 30 per cent more likely in areas of the highest fluoridation. The difference between the West Midlands, which fluoridates, and Manchester, which doesn’t,  was particularly striking. In Manchester, there was nearly double the number of cases of  underactive thyroid per head of population.

The findings of this survey could mean that up to 15,000 people have been suffering  needlessly from thyroid problems including weight gain, depression, fatigue and aching muscles. Rather more serious than treatable tooth decay, I’d have thought. Earlier studies have found that fluoride does help combat tooth decay by making enamel more resistant to bacteria, but that fluoride inhibits the production of iodine, essential for a healthy thyroid.


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