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Friday, January 18, 2019

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Fluoride Pros and Cons

At the Dentist

Fluoride Pros and Cons: Is Fluoride Safe?

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The use of fluoride is controversial—it's a known toxin, but we've also been told it's essential for healthy teeth. Fluoride can sometimes be beneficial, but with safer alternatives available, it's just not worth the risk.

by Dr. Burhenne

Fluoride has always been a controversial topic in the world of dentistry, and as a dentist, I’m going to make a bold statement that may surprise you:

I don’t think you need fluoride.

That’s right—contrary to what the CDC, American Dental Association and Academy of Pediatrics say, fluoride is not the miracle of dental health it was sold to be. (1, 2, 3, 4)

On occasion, I’ve had patients who benefited greatly from topical fluoride application (more on that later). However, on the whole, most people don’t truly need it—especially when it’s ingested via the water supply.

Due to recent advances in dental technology, there’s a better option on the market that not only works better, but is also non-toxic (and way less controversial).

I raised three daughters without ingestion of fluoride. That was something I decided back in 1988 when I bought our first water filter. I should also add that each of my daughters grew up without a single cavity.

While many people believe fluoride is perfectly safe and that the water fluoridation controversy has been settled, that’s not the case. And while uncovering the truth about fluoride can be difficult, I’m going to help you unpack the facts.

What is Fluoride?

There are actually many different types of compounds known as fluoride. For example, calcium fluoride is found in well water and soil all over the world in varying degrees, with people who drink from wells in Texas being exposed to higher-than-average levels. Seawater also contains this compound. (5)

Sodium fluoride, on the other hand, is the compound that was originally added to drinking water.
Unlike calcium fluoride, sodium fluoride is greatly absorbed by your body and is not naturally-occurring (read: it’s synthetic). Before it became known as the miracle of modern dentistry, sodium fluoride was just good ol’ industrial toxic waste.

The third kind of fluoride is most concerning to me, as it makes up 90 percent of today’s fluoridated water supply in the US. It’s called hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFS or FSA) and is also industrial waste.
Why is it so bad? HFS contains arsenic (a known carcinogen) and leeches lead (also a carcinogen) as it travels through pipes more than other types of fluoride. (6, 7, 8, 9)

Is Fluoride Safe?

Sodium fluoride, found in toothpaste, can have beneficial effects when used topically. Used in prescription-strength toothpastes, it can support remineralization of teeth and make it possible to heal cavities. At least, that was the profession’s thinking for the past several decades.

But in order to get the  fluoride into the teeth, prescription strength toothpastes are formulated to be acidic. The acid breaks down the tooth so that the amount of fluoride that enters your tooth is greater.

I’m not a fan of any product that breaks down enamel, but as I mentioned, these topical applications can be beneficial. (However, there is a better option for remineralizing teeth, which I’ll discuss later.)
Unfortunately, fluoride in water isn’t really helpful for preventing cavities and swallowing this chemical causes much more harm than good, as it travels through your bloodstream and to all parts of your body.

For example, fluoride can pass into the brain or the placenta to a fetus when ingested. (10, 11) And since you only get rid of about 50 percent of the fluoride you consume (through urination), the other 50 percent sticks around via bioaccumulation anywhere your body stores calcium, like the inside of your teeth, bones, and cartilage. (12) The chemical can also build up in the pineal gland that regulates sleep. (13)

In animals, fluoride accumulation in the brain alters neurotransmitter levels including epinephrine, histamine, serotonin, glutamate, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and dopamine. (14) Notably, this happens to animal subjects when the amount of fluoride in its blood is similar to that of a human who is ingesting it  regularly .

Considering the above facts, it makes you wonder why we’re still adding this chemical to water, especially because there’s no concrete proof that ingested fluoride will even reduce the cavity rate.

Now, at this point, you might be asking the same question I did over 30 years ago, which is: How did this stuff get in our water?

History of Fluoride Use

Fluoride for the teeth was an unexpected discovery made by Frederick McKay, a dentist who spent time in Colorado. In 1901, he stumbled across the fact that the cases of “Colorado Brown Stain” in the many children in Colorado Springs seemed to relate to the strength of the children’s’ teeth, even discolored as they were.

McKay found that fluoride supports the process of remineralization but could also lead to mottled teeth, now known as dental fluorosis. Colorado Springs had a great deal of naturally occurring fluoride in the ground and well water that led to this conclusion. (15)

Then, in 1945, studies in various US cities were conducted between fluoridated and unfluoridated communities. The CDC claims a big victory from these experiments: Apparently, fluoride reduced dental caries (cavities) by 50-70 percent over the course of 15 years, leading to an official recommendation in 1962 to add fluoride to public drinking water. (16)

However, none of that data referenced in those studies is actually available. In fact, it’s unclear whether the studies were ever completed or well-documented.

The evidence we do have shows us that cavity formation has actually declined equally between communities with and without this compound in their water, which leads me to believe that it wasn’t about the water. (17)

Even when the use of fluoride to reduce cavities has been studied, the quality of research leaves much to be desired and typically shows that if cavity rates decrease, it’s by an incredibly small margin. (18, 19, 20)

Yes, cavity rates have declined since the introduction of fluoride in the water supply. However, rates have also declined at nearly identical rates in “control” countries with no public water fluoridation whatsoever. (21)

The Dangers of Fluoride

Thursday, January 17, 2019

From Jeff Bennett's Templeton Watch

Sewer Power Play

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Selectmen, Town Administrator and Sewer Department:

from the 2009 financial review from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue:

Centralize the Collection of Taxes, Fees and Other Charges As a matter of sound financial management practice, those responsible for determining payments due the town should not also be charged with collecting those payments. Therefore, we recommend that officials separate responsibility for creating the commitment that authorizes the collection of taxes, fees or other charges due the municipality from the collection function. Presently, the light & water plant and sewer department create a commitment, and, at the same time, are responsible for receiving payments. This approach may require that personnel currently operating elsewhere be reallocated to the collector’s office in order to process the additional customer volume.

Note: No mention of billing, only collecting!

from 2010 Independent Audit report from Melanson Heath & Company:

Improve segregation of duties in Sewer department

The Sewer Dept. is now responsible for collecting customer receipts. Because of the small size of the dept., one clerk is responsible for performing all aspects of customer billing, collections, receipt postings, abatement/adjustment postings, and reconciliations to the Town's general ledger. This results in a lack of segregation of duties and increases the risk of errors or irregularities occurring and going undetected.

We recommend the Town segregate duties by transferring collection responsibilities to the Tax Collector's office. We also recommend the Sewer Dept.'s detail sewer receivables continue to be reconciled with the Town Accountant's general ledger, and that this reconciliation be documented on a form signed by both the Sewer clerk and Town accountant. This will result in an improved segregation of duties and improved documented oversight.

Note: No mention of billing.

Board of Selectmen meeting of April 2, 2018:

Selectmen Brooks asks if the sewer dept. quarterly bill collections were moved to the town collectors office, can the sewer department enterprise fund be billed for that work and could those dollars help the town's general fund budget. Could the current town hall staff handle the additional work?

Selectmen Caplis stated yes to charging sewer dept. enterprise fund for work, yes to those dollars helping town general fund and no to could the current staff handle the extra work.

Town Administrator Terenzini stated he disagreed with selectmen Caplis on staff levels.

Note: This was about moving collections to the collectors office. One other question was regarding to any possible savings to sewer users. Nothing about billing.

On first look, this seems to point out that selectmen do not have control of Sewer dept. and neither does the Town Administrator. If they did, this move would surely have already been completed. There is an elected entity of Sewer Commissioners. Since one of the impasses seem to be concerning pay raises for non-union sewer dept. employees, that do not come from taxation, but rather an enterprise fund, where all costs are paid for from fees, it seems like selectmen should instruct the Town Administrator and town accountant to process and allow these raises to be made and then some progress could be made on the collection front.

The only item involved is moving of collections of quarterly sewer billing to the Town Treasurer/Collector office. There appears no need for any employee reductions at the Sewer dept., nor any other control over sewer issues by the selectmen or town administrator. The retained earnings of the Sewer dept. and Sewer betterment are not funds to be raided by the selectmen to bolster the Town general fund expenditure items. But as selectmen Brooks stated, or asked, can these monies help the general fund budget? It is the money the selectmen are after, not efficiency, not a financial report, not an audit report, just more money. 
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