Letters to the editor

ACHIEVER: Ethan Bellman, grandson of Angledale's John and Beryl Cooper (back left), was recently named The Fred Hollows Foundation Junior Ambassador for NSW.

ACHIEVER: Ethan Bellman, grandson of Angledale's John and Beryl Cooper (back left), was recently named The Fred Hollows Foundation Junior Ambassador for NSW.

Thank you from Legacy

On behalf of Far South Coast Legacy and our 119 war widows living between Tura Beach and Eden, I would like to sincerely thank the community for their generous support in response to our recent Legacy Week fundraising appeal.

I would also like to thank the various businesses and clubs for permitting the sale of Legacy badges and other Legacy merchandise from their premises. 

A special thank you goes to all our volunteers who helped in so many ways.

All funds donated by the community are wholly dedicated to providing care and support of local war widows.

Were it not for the continuing support of the community our job would indeed be most difficult.

Thank you everyone.

Peter Johnston, Far South Coast Legacy

Researching fluoride

I am writing this in response to the letter published on September 13 from Dorte Planert of Tathra.

The claims of fluoridated water increasing the risk of osteosarcoma “five-fold” compared to non-fluoridated areas was misquoted as belonging to Bassin, Wypij, Davis, and Mittleman (2006) who make no such claim in the paper.

A  study by Hoover, Devesa, Cantor and Fraumeni. J. F. (1991) found an unexplained difference in osteosarcoma rates in males under 20-years from fluoridated versus non-fluoridated areas, however after time-trend analysis was conducted, there was no significant difference between those who had been exposed for a portion of their lives compared to those who had been exposed their whole lives. 

The Bassin et al. (2006) study quoted, describe correlational relationships between fluoride and osteosarcoma in a subset of males, but the authors themselves make no claim of a causal link.

The study suffered from multiple confounding factors including inaccurate estimations of fluoride consumed, lack of biological markers to demonstrate increase fluoride in the bones and the inability to account for other carcinogens that the participants may have been exposed to.

The vast majority of research on this topic has repeatedly supported no causal link between osteosarcoma and fluoridated drinking water (Kim et al., 2011).

In fact, no systematic review of the available literature has supported the notion of fluoride in drinking water increasing the risk of osteosarcoma (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1982; Mcdonagh and et al., 2000; Medical Research Council Working Group, 2002; San Francisco Department of Public Health, 2005).

Moreover, the literature has repeatedly demonstrated no consistent links between fluoridated drinking water and incidence of cancer in general (Fawell and al., 2006).

More importantly, the spreading of misinformation regarding fluoride in the drinking water is in blatant disregard for the evidence, and supports the perpetuation of ignorant, fear-driven opposition to one of the most important public health initiatives in this country.

In Australia, dental health has improved since fluoridations introduction in the 1950’s and those born after 1970 have 50 per cent less tooth decay than their parents (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012). 

It is easy to sympathise with the fears of the uninformed, it is not so easy to sympathise with the misrepresentation of information regarding something as important as water.

Especially when this information has the potential to affect the way that people interact with their water.

Let me finish by saying that Australia’s water has a fluoridation range of between 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2007), far below the level to cause any significant damage to teeth or bones. 

J Mullen, Bermagui

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