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Senator Swears He Has Nothing Against Teeth

by Hugh McQuaid | Feb 12, 2013 12:30pm
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Environment, Town News, Southington, Health Care

CTNJ file photo

Sen. Joseph Markley speaking on the Senate floor

In January, contributing columnist Susan Bigelow looked at a number of bills on tap for this session, including one from Sen. Joe Markley who wants to scrap mandatory fluoride in the water supply. She asked “What does he have against teeth?” Well, CTNewsJunkie caught up with Markley last week. It turns out his answer is twofold.

First, Markley doesn’t have anything against teeth. His problem is more rooted in an opposition to municipal mandates than it is anything rooted in gum tissue. He said he had been talking to businesses and municipalities about various state requirements.

Soon he started thinking about the “fluoride thing,” he said. “Why is the state mandating it on municipalities? Why not let municipalities decide for themselves?”

Markley said that even if fluoride is a positive thing, towns should be able to choose whether to put fluoride in their water supply.

He said his proposal to make fluoride optional didn’t go over so well in some camps.

“I immediately got pushback from some of my dentist friends, of which there are many,” he said. “They said ‘What are you thinking?’”

While he points out that he is not a scientist, Markley said he started researching the issue and that led him to his second reason for raising the bill: some people question how effective fluoride is and whether it can be linked to health problems.

He said that many European countries began adding fluoride to their water supply around the same time the U.S. did so, but some of those countries have since moved away from it.

Markley said his dentist friends have accused him of reading “junk science” but he cites studies from John Hopkins University and Harvard conducted over the last few decades that found links between fluoride and hip fractures in the elderly in some cases, or an adverse effect on the neurodevelopment of children in others.

“To just dump it in without any regard to who or what types of people — it might not be wise,” he said.

Carolyn Malon, president of the Connecticut State Dental Association, said she was one of the dentists who reached out to Markley to oppose potentially taking fluoride out of drinking water.

“If you take fluoride out, you’re going to have greater incidents of tooth decay and it is predominantly going to hit low-income kids,” she said.

Although she hadn’t seen the specific studies Markley has cited, Malon said you can find data on almost any substance suggesting it’s harmful in certain doses. But unless you’re eating toothpaste and drinking fluoride rinse from the bottle, you’re unlikely to have a problem, she said.

Malon said she believed Markley was more concerned with the philosophy of reducing mandates than he was with the health impacts of fluoridated water.

“However, I do believe the public health benefits of fluoride in the water trumps his mandate philosophy,” she said.

Markley said wanted to start a dialogue but he didn’t have much hope for the bill this year.

“I’m glad I started the conversation, though I don’t think it’s going to change in this legislative session,” he conceded.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Matt W. | February 12, 2013  2:42pm

Matt W.

First legislator I’ve ever heard of who is actually looking to REMOVE laws from the books.  Must be an extremist, kook.

posted by: swhin | February 12, 2013  4:54pm

Ideology over health of the people he represents. This guy is dangerous.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | February 12, 2013  6:04pm

DrHunterSThompson

i would suggest y’all do a bit of research before talking like you know something. Flouride has been linked to many deaths here and in Europe.  It should be looked at, no question.

HST

posted by: Lawrence | February 12, 2013  7:54pm

“Harvard University scientists say that Wichita voters shouldn’t depend on a research study they compiled to decide whether to put fluoride in the city’s drinking water to fight tooth decay.

While the studies the Harvard team reviewed did indicate that very high levels of fluoride could be linked to lower IQs among schoolchildren, the data is not particularly applicable here because it came from foreign sources where fluoride levels are multiple times higher than they are in American tap water.

Opponents of adding fluoride to Wichita’s drinking water have frequently cited the Harvard research in their efforts to persuade Wichitans to reject a ballot initiative that would require the water department to introduce the cavity-fighting chemical into the water supply.

Two of the scientists who compiled the Harvard study on fluoride said it really doesn’t address the safety of fluoridation levels typical of American drinking water…

“These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.,” the researchers said in an e-mail response to questions from The Eagle. “On the other hand, neither can it be concluded that no risk is present.”

The researchers noted that the fluoride levels they studied were much higher than what is found in fluoridated water in the United States and recommended “further research to clarify what role fluoride exposure levels may play in possible adverse effects on brain development, so that future risk assessments can properly take into regard this possible hazard.”

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/09/11/2485561/harvard-scientists-data-on-fluoride.html#storylink=cpy

posted by: dano860 | February 12, 2013  8:51pm

He really isn’t that far off base. A majority of the low-income families are on EBT/SNAP and drink soft drinks or bottled water. They are taught that water out of the faucet isn’t good for them.
Municipalities should have the opportunity to weigh in on this one.

posted by: gutbomb86 | February 13, 2013  12:35am

gutbomb86

@lawrence - so what the research is saying is pretty simple then? The metric system is failing the Europeans? They can’t measure how much fluoride to put in the water?

posted by: FreedomtoChoose | February 13, 2013  11:26am

I’m glad someone in politics still cares about “the right to choose”, especially something that causes as much health damage as fluoridation chemicals. No one has the right to force “medication” on anyone without their consent. Plus, guess what? These chemicals don’t even prevent dental caries!!! In fact, populations that DON’T fluoridate have better dental health than areas that do fluoridate!

posted by: FreedomtoChoose | February 13, 2013  11:28am

Hydrofluorosilicic acid, what is used for water fluoridation is a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, cancer causer, damages the thyroid, causes chromosomal damage. Not in our drinking water!

posted by: meridenite | February 13, 2013  2:42pm

Where’s General Jack D. Ripper when we need him.