SEB Mailbag: Another moron defends the Teslar watch, attacks fluoride.

The SEB mailbag is becoming quite the resource for entries as of late. This one comes from someone named David L. Ries who stumbled across an entry I wrote back in August of 2003 about the craptastic Philip Stein Teslar Watch. He apparently didn’t like the tone or the conclusion I came to in the entry and he wrote me to try and set my ass straight. Here’s his email:

From: “David L. Ries” (davidlries@sssnet.com)
Subject: Teslar & Other stuff

In reading some of your post I was a bit taken by your bombastic attacks and in particular the idea not that you suggest no-thing as a better alternative.

Experts said that the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it and of course that was inaccurate? 

To give you some “medical” examples, doctors used to believe that what ever made one sick was in the blood, so therefore, we must bleed the individual.  We have learned that that was inaccurate and wrong.

We used to believe that fluoride was good and that is very harmful and is a bio accumulative toxic.

The ADA still insists that it is ok to poison the Municipal water supplies and in effect the processed foods are laced with fluoride which you and I are exposed to every day.

There is no way to control the dosage and this is a serious problem which some people and probably you are unaware of this

Please –  Take a look at the attachment.

We used to put lead in the paint that was harmful?

How about DDT you want to drink some?  Perhaps have your kids playing in the yard with and DDT sprayed around? 

The real bias is in our lack of understanding and knowing.

Our brains are very delicate chemical and electrical plants as is our nervous system entirely electrical based on chemical reactions.

So perhaps you could illuminate all of us with something innovative that truly helps. 

Perhaps   the Teslar is as you say – but at least it is good that some people are trying to innovate and yes make a living doing it. 

I do know one thing. Mr. NikolaTesla made the world a much better place. His ideas and inventions have helped humanity more than any single contribution
made by any other human on the planet.  I say that from my own point of view not as a scientific fact but I suggest anyone would be hard pressed to refute it.  The radio, the transistor, and television and virtually every single electronic thing is derivative of his not Edison’s or Marconi’s work.  (Good men mind you but not in Tesla’s league by any means)

That includes me and you and hundreds of thousands millions perhaps billons of us.

His work is still classified in many areas and to say what you are saying without really knowing is unjust’

I hope we learn one way or the other but it is true that there is an electromagnetic radiation coming out of every socket in your house and that may do something to our cells vibrations we don’t know.  Cows are being found to have problems when around high voltage wires in grazing so why presume that it doesn’t affect humans?  Scalar waves have been weaponized by the Government and is being USED in HARRP so please awaken to the possibility that something good could come of it and get with helping and building – beats destruction don’t you think?  .  And no I don’t have a teslar watch, nor do I work for the company just seemed you needed a little to ponder.

                So there you go   David/.

His attachment was one of the various “fluoride is toxic waste” nonsense filled pamphlets that have been floating around on the Internet for awhile now. I hadn’t realized how big the fluoride is dangerous crowd had gotten until I did a Google search and saw all the “herbal supplement” peddlers with tons of factually inaccurate webpages devoted to the evils of fluoride. Which isn’t to say that fluoride in high doses can’t be a problem, because it can, but those potential issues are known and accounted for with over 60 years of peer-reviewed research backing it up. The claims that it causes, among a number of things, cancer are just not true. David appears to be unaware of the fact that fluoride occurs naturally in water all over the world and, in some places, the process of water treatment involves reducing the amount already present to safe levels.

David goes on to touch on all the popular bullshit too many folks buy into these days including the “weaponized” scalar waves and repeats the ever popular at-one-time-experts-thought-X-was-safe-and-they-were-WRONG line of argument as though it was somehow an indictment of the scientific method. David also seems to think that Nikola Tesla had something to do with the Teslar watch. He didn’t. The makers of that craptastic watch chose that name specifically to try and profit off of Nikola’s reputation as a genius.

For those of you curious as to what David’s anti-fluoride attachment contained I’ll include in after the jump. It’s suppose to contain links to other sites explaining the claims in full, but they appear to have been lost in translation. I’m short on time at the moment, but I’ll try to revisit this later with links to counter-claims.

Here’s the Fluoride is toxic nonsense I received:

The research and evidence suggesting toxic effects of fluoride has been mounting.  It has been found to be pretty unhealthy. 

1. Neurotoxic and Lowers IQ
In 1995, neurotoxicologist and former Director of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix published research showing that fluoride built up in the brains of animals when exposed to moderate levels. Damage to the brain occurred and the behavior patterns of the animals was adversely effected. Offspring of pregnant animals receiving relatively low doses of fluoride showed permanent effects to the brain which were seen as hyperactivity (ADD-like symptoms). Young animals and adult animals given fluoride experienced the opposite effect—hypo activity or sluggishness. The toxic effects of fluoride on the central nervous system was subsequently confirmed by previously-classified government research. Two new epidemiological studies which tend to confirm fluoride’s Neurotoxic effects on the brain have shown that children exposed to higher levels of fluoride had lower IQs.
2. A study published in Brain Research shows that rats drinking only 1 part per million fluoride (NaF) in water had histologic lesions in their brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition, evidence was seen pointing to possible damage to the blood brain barrier from extended fluoride exposure. This study was the third in a series of papers published by Varner et al. Brain Research Vol. 784 No. 12 p 284-298 (1998). Results of this recent study and other studies showing significant dangers from low-level fluoride exposure were presented at a recent scientific symposium.
3. Causes Cancer
The Department of Health in New Jersey found that bone cancer in male children was between two and seven times greater in areas where water was fluoridated. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) researchers confirmed the bone cancer-causing effects of fluoride at low levels in an animal model. A new study has shown that fluoridation of water is linked to uterine cancer deaths.
4. Changes Bone Structure and Strength
Fluoride gradually builds up in the bones and causes adverse changes to the bone structure. Quite a few studies have shown that fluoridation leads to increases in hip fractures. The tensile strength of the hip is destroyed over time by fluoride ingestion.
5. Causes Birth Defects and Preinatal Deaths
A toxicologist in the United Kingdom recently found that preinatal deaths in a fluoridated area was 15% higher than in neighboring non-fluoridated areas. The fluoridated area had a higher socio-economic status and would have been expected to have less preinatal deaths. The fluoridated area also had a 30% higher rate of Down’s Syndrome. Chile banned fluoridation because of research by the world-renowned researcher, Dr Albert Schatz, which showed a link to infant deaths due to fluoridation.
6. Proven Ineffective
Fluoride compounds in water and in supplements do not provide any significant cavity-protecting effects. All of the recent large-scale studies of water fluoridation have shown that there are no positive effects. There is scientific evidence that increased fluoride exposure leads to increased levels of caries. That is why countries without fluoridation have shown an equal improvement in dental health as those with fluoridation. Even pro-fluoridation scientists admit that there is not any properly-conducted research showing that fluoride supplements help prevent cavities. (Note: check vitamins carefully to be sure they do not include fluoride.)
7. Impairs Immune System
Independent research has shown that fluoride impairs the functioning of the immune system. In the United States, where toxic fluoride compounds are regularly added to water and given to children since the 1960s and 1970s, we are beginning to see an overwhelming number of people of that generation who are developing chronic immune system disorders.
8. Causes Acute Adverse Reactions
Several double-blind studies have shown that fluoridated water can often cause acute adverse reactions (in addition to the chronic poisoning effects discussed below). Some of the effects seen in double-blind studies include: gastrointestinal symptoms, stomatitis, joint pains, polydipsia, headaches, visual disturbances, muscular weakness, and extreme tiredness. An enlightening review of a book by one famous and well-respected researcher from The Netherlands who found adverse reactions in double-blind experiments can be read here.
9. Causes Initial Stages of Skeletal Fluorosis
Fluoride can cause severe skeletal fluorosis at high levels. Chronic, long-term exposure to levels of fluoride commonly found in water and food in the U.S. can cause the beginning stages of skeletal fluorosis including: pains in bones and joints, sensations of burning, pricking, and tingling in the limbs, muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, reduced appetite, backache, osteoarthritis, etc. In fact, decades of ingestion of fluoride from water and other common sources can be expected to cause these symptoms in large numbers of people based on calculations of fluoride intake and excretion. (Keep in mind that fluoride is a cumulative poison since it builds up in the body of years.) Very few healthcare practitioners are capable of diagnosing such a condition because healthcare practitioners are not trained to test for or recognize the effects chronic poisoning from fluoride.
10. Increases Lead and Arsenic Exposure
Fluoride compounds put into water are often contaminated with lead, arsenic and radio nuclides since the fluoride compounds are toxic waste byproducts which largely come from pollution scrubbers of fertilizer plants. A study published in 2000 showed that the dumping of toxic silicofluoride compounds into water (“fluoridation”) causes an increase in blood lead levels in children.
11. Fluoride Causes Osteoarthritis
In a study published in Rheumatology International in 2001, researchers found a link between fluoride exposure and the development of osteoarthritis. The level of exposure that caused osteoarthritis is common in the United States.
12. Contributes to the Development of Repetitive Stress Injury
A clinical study in New Zealand showed that fluoride ingestion may be a contributing factor in the development of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) since such ingestion may encourage the development of apatite crystal formation. Elimination of fluoride plus regular supplementation of magnesium appeared to help RSI patients considerably.
13. Causes Permanent Disfigurement of the Teeth in Many Children
A very large and increasing number of children are experiencing dental fluorosis which is a permanent adverse structural change to the teeth.
14. Inhibits Key Enzymes
As fluoride builds up in different parts of the body over decades it can disrupt the actions of many key enzymes. This fact has been known for a long time.
15. Suppresses Thyroid Function
Fluoride was given at low levels during the early to mid 20th century as an effective way of suppressing thyroid function and treating hyperthyroidism. Articles and research can be found on the Thyroid web page.
16. Causes Large Numbers of Acute Poisonings
Fluoride is an extremely poisonous substances at exceptionally low doses and has caused a large number of acute poisonings. This is why a poison warning is now required on fluoridated toothpastes sold in the U.S.
17. Independent Experts Oppose Dumping Fluoride Into Water
Over 1500 professionals at the US EPA, including toxicologists and risk assessment experts voted unanimously to oppose the fluoridation initiative in California because of the health risks involved. See summary or official EPA union statement. Even the Canadian Dental Association Consultant and Researcher urged people to avoid drinking fluoridated water.
18. Unethical
Fluoridation amounts to forced medication of the water supply. Such practices demonstrate a complete lack of ethics on the part of its promoters. Studies as early the 1930s showed extreme hazards to man and the environment due to fluoride dumping and exposure. Companies and organizations involved used the promotion of “fluoridation” as a way to avoid lawsuits due to dumping toxic wastes and later for economic gain. Please read the short history of fluoridation for more detailed information.

19. Banned in Many Countries
Fluoridation is not legal or not used in the overwhelming number of countries including industrialized countries. Please see Fluoride Status of Countries web page.
Many independent researchers, organizations, holistic healthcare experts and a growing number of dentists who avoid the use of toxic substances are warning their patients to avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste and to definitely not give children any fluoride since they appear to be more susceptible to the neurological toxicity from fluoride.

If your water department adds toxic fluoride compounds to the water, the best course of action is usually to drink and cook with bottled “spring” water. Carbon filters do not remove fluoride compounds to any significant extent. Avoid putting fluoridated water in humidifiers. Many non-organic juices have large amounts of fluoride from pesticide residues. It is best to juice your own vegetables and fruits from organic produce or go to a health food store to purchase organic juices.
Avoid toothpastes that have fluoride even if the manufacturers claim that the fluoride came from “natural” sources. Even though topical fluoride treatment may have an effect to help remineralize cavities at the early stages, the combination of a healthy diet, proper dental hygiene and saliva can have a similar effect. It is impossible to avoid swallowing some fluoride from fluoridated toothpaste. I have tried various toothpastes and current use the natural Weleda toothpaste with baking soda. I like that fact that it does not contain fluoride or the detergent, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

More detailed information about fluoride and proper dental care:

· Fluoridation Does Not Prevent Tooth Decay
· Fluoride: Detailed General & Scientific Information
· Fluoride: Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research
· Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children: Main Page / Toxicological Profile / Thyroid Page
· International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology Position Paper on Fluoridation (Click on Download Article)
· Scientific Statement Signed By 1,500+ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scientists and Professionals
· NoFluoride.com (Statements by Scientific and Medical Experts)
· Fluoride Action Network
· Fluoride Issues Web Page
· Fluorides & Fluoridation: Evidence Based on Science?
· Citizens for Safe Drinking Water
· Fluoride: The Deadly Legacy by Gary Null
· Book Review: The Fluoride Deception
· History of Fluorine, Fluoride and Fluoridation
· Article & Resources for Eliminating Dental Disease
· Alternatives to Fluoridated Water
· Preventive Dental Association
· Dental Fluorosis Prevention Program

36 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Another moron defends the Teslar watch, attacks fluoride.

  1. Actually, DDT is pretty harmless to humans. It does however, kill insects, birds (adult birds survive it, fledglings don’t, and eggshells are very thin), very small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

    Now, as for fluoride. Who gives a crap? We’re all going to die anyhow, and since it takes an entire life-time for any ill side-effects of ‘possible’ fluoride build-up to even appear, well, I think you know what colorful metaphors I would use.

    As far as the Teslar watch, never heard of it. It’s probably junk. I’ll take your word for it.

  2. Les, I usually agree with you—especially when you pillory the tinfoil hat crowd and the Godidiots.  But this time, you blew it.

    You really, really ought to go out and find the science on this before you choose your stance.  I’m pretty good at spotting junk science (I read the news every day, so I see plenty of it), and the case against fluoride looks pretty darned solid to me.

    Yes, the “Fluoride is Toxic Waste” meme is over the top.  But if you can look at the research that has been done (lots of it, with repeatable results) and conclude that fluoride isn’t a serious potential health risk, then I’m going to have a pretty tough time taking your opinions seriously in the future.

  3. Dave, fluoride is used to help build healthy teeth.. we learned this in elementary school.  If it’s safe enough then.. I’ll drink it straight now.  Serve me up a frosty mug of fluoride. mmm-mmm good.

  4. Here’s a tautology for you:

    If your water department adds toxic fluoride compounds to the water, the best course of action is usually to drink and cook with bottled “spring” water.

    If your water department adds toxic anything to the water, you should cook and drink water that is known to be clean.  But that’s rather begging the question, isn’t it?

    The CDC seems to be OK with water fluoridation

  5. You may well be disappointed with me then, Dave. I’ve read a number of studies including the ones put out by the CDC. Too much fluoride can cause problems, but not of the sort expounded upon in the attachment replicated above.

    As DOF has already mentioned, the CDC has a wealth of information in regards to the studies that have been done over the years to see if there were any safety issues with fluoridated water. You can find a good summary with links to several at this link here.

    Almost every single site I’ve come across that claims that fluoride is toxic happen to be a part of an “alternative medicine” website that is often selling herbal supplements or dubious water filtering systems. If you’re asking me whether I trust the CDC over sites with names like “holisticmed.com” then I’ll tell you that I’m going to go with the CDC every time.

  6. Well, I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of a fluoride war, but if one doesn’t buy the “potential health issues”, one can always oppose it on political grounds. The book The Fluoride Deception is heavily about how, in the 1930’s, the Fed’s got medical agencies to publicly support fluoride and black-listed scientists who opposed it. The reasoning was that fluoride (the pure toxic kind) was used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons so when traces of it (yes, probably harmless traces) started popping up in the environment around places engaged in the weapons industry, they wanted it to have a good public reputation.

    And while that Teslar watch sounds like a bunch of hooey, not every nut-case theory out there is. Research has shown dangers (especially in children under 6) of cell phone usage… Well, research done outside the United States anyway. But then a lot of those countries don’t fluoridate their water their water either, so what do they know?

    Anyway, writing to you from Portland, OR, the largest American city with unfluoridated water.

    If anyone is curious about “scientific evidence” the National Academy of Sciences made this determination:

    “the committee concluded unanimously that the present MCLG of 4 mg/L for fluoride should be lowered. Exposure at the MCLG clearly puts children at risk of developing severe enamel fluorosis”
    and
    “A few epidemiologic studies of Chinese populations have reported IQ deficits in children exposed to fluoride at 2.5 to 4 mg/L in drinking water. Although the studies lacked sufficient detail for the committee to fully assess their quality and relevance to U.S. populations, the consistency of the results appears significant enough to warrant additional research on the effects of fluoride on intelligence.”

    The whole thing is here, for those that might want to read it…
    Fluoride in Drinking Water

  7. By the way, blood letting is coming back. Read Chapter 1 of the book, “Survial of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem, 2007. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that disrupts the way the body metabolizes iron and if your ancestors are Western European, the odds are about one in three that you carry at least one copy of the gene. Only about 1 in 200 exhibit the disease, however. Seems it was bred into our heritage by those who survived the Black Plague. And the contemporary treatment of choice is blood letting. Fascinating read. Also a good source of evolutionary evidence for the doubting Thomases.

  8. David- if you think the Teslar Watch is a good thing because it has Nikola Tesla’s name on it, do I have a deal for you: the Einstein necklace, guaranteed to protect you from alien death rays!  Only $599.99!

  9. Hi Les, thanks for responding.

    Your points are well taken here.  Sadly, I think your comments are indicative of a much larger and more disturbing problem.  That problem being the hazards of black-and-white thinking in a world that is colored in all shades of gray, but little or no black, or white.

    You see, I too have a lot of faith in and respect for the CDC and other major institutions within the community of allopathic (mainstream) medicine.  I too have abundant contempt for quacks, charlatans and “experts for hire”.  I wish that the CDC, in particular, would be a voice that I could trust 100% of the time.

    But there is money involved—a lot of money—and this means, just as surely as if controlled by the laws of physics, that they cannot be fully trusted. One must be wary of what they say.

    I believe that doctors and researchers are, on the whole, ethical and diligent.  But I also know that there are enough douchebags among them to justify lingering skepticism.

    And that’s where you have burst my bubble, Les, because you are normally one of my favorite skeptics.

  10. So let me get this straight, Dave…

    Les believes that the CDC is a more credible source than websites that disagree while peddling a holistic cure, and you think that he’s not being skeptical?

    You can’t claim that he’s blindly trusting the CDC.  He’s said that he’s read the other side.  He just finds the CDC to be more credible in this case.  That is being skeptical.  He was skeptical of the claim that goes against what we’ve all been told, but he read the documentation anyways, because it could be right.  In his reading, he’s determined that the CDC seems more credible to him.

    How should this at all be disappointing to you, unless you have an unnatural hate on for the CDC?  He did exactly what he always does, and just happens to believe the CDC in this case. 

    If you feel that he is in error, then supply evidence from a more trustworthy source.

  11. But there is money involved—a lot of money—and this means, just as surely as if controlled by the laws of physics, that they cannot be fully trusted. One must be wary of what they say.

    David, I’d like to point out that the makers of every homeopathic/new age treatment can be accused of the same thing. When you add in the fact that most of them refuse to allow true double-blind tests or to release their own data it makes them even more suspect.

    Stalin (allegedly) said it best Trust no one, not even yourself.

  12. Given toothpaste is fluordated, seems the amount you will get from water is very low.  4mg per litre is 32mg per day if all water source you get are fluoridated (at 8 ltr per day, some of which will come from food). That is 32 THOUSANDTHS of a gram.

  13. Dave, yes there is indeed a lot of money involved. It’s no coincidence that the vast majority of sites that have ominous warnings of the dangers of Fluoride also tend to be sites that are peddling so-called alternative medicines and herbal supplements. The herbal supplement industry makes over $21 billion dollars a year selling alternative medicines.

    I have also admitted that high fluoride levels can cause problems. The most common of which is enamel fluorosis. The claims that it causes cancer, impairs the immune system, and other various severe issues aren’t backed up by the research I’ve seen. Also as I’ve mentioned previously there are places around the country where they actually have to reduce the amount of fluoride in the water because it’s already naturally high. There was an New York Times article about this back in 2006:

    WASHINGTON, March 22 — High concentrations of fluoride that occur naturally in a small minority of the nation’s drinking water supplies can damage teeth and bones, and federal regulators should reduce the level that is considered safe for human consumption, a National Academy of Sciences panel said Wednesday.

    The 12-member panel, which spent almost three years studying the issue at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency, did not address the health effects of the much smaller amounts of fluoride added to the drinking water of 160 million Americans to prevent tooth decay.

    Instead, its report dealt with the 200,000 people whose water supplies have at least four parts per million of naturally occurring fluoride, the environmental agency’s current maximum.

    “Our committee concluded unanimously that E.P.A. should lower the maximum contaminant level goal for fluoride,” said John Doull, the committee chairman, a retired professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Kansas.

    A majority of the committee, Mr. Doull said, concluded that water fluoride concentrations at or near the current standard caused adverse health effects.

    […] A vast majority of Americans consume water containing 0.7 to 1.2 parts of fluoride per million, well below the limits set by environmental and health authorities, the study said.

    But about 10 million people live in areas where the drinking water contains naturally occurring fluoride. Besides the 200,000 whose levels are four parts per million or higher, 1.4 million more are drinking water with two parts per million, a so-called secondary limit set by the E.P.A. to protect against cosmetic dental discoloration and other effects.

    The communities that have high levels of natural fluoride are widely scattered around the nation, the report said. Because the problem has been well reported over the years, many of the people affected are already drinking bottled water or using commercially available filters to reduce the fluoride to safer levels.

    […]While most panel members concluded that this severe enamel loss should be classified as an adverse health effect, Dr. Doull said 2 of the 12 members felt there was not enough evidence to classify it as more than a cosmetic problem. But he added that all concurred with the recommendation that the maximum allowable level of fluoride should be lowered to prevent the condition.

    Several studies indicate an increased risk of bone fracture in populations exposed to fluoride concentrations in water at or near the limit, the committee said. Although fluoride increases bone density as it accumulates, there is evidence that under certain conditions it can weaken bones and increase the risk of fractures, it said.

    Now compare that to the health claims being made in the text of the original entry.

  14. Well to hell with Fluoride. It is just another of the many things we’ve dumped into our environment. As I look around and see all of the crap we’ve put everywhere, blood-letting and leeches are actually starting to look like a good idea…

  15. Edison was in no way a good man. He was a nasty, conniving thief. If he had had it his way, we would all be enslaved to his direct current. Plus he fried dogs with AC trying to discredit Tesla. People need to stop thinking that Edison and Marconi were anything but quick to the patent office with stolen ideas.

  16. I haven’t really been paying much attention to this thread, but Otkon, what the hell does Edison having been a bastard have to do with the Teslar Watch being total BS or for that matter, the Fluoridation “controversy”?  Are you just trying to get all the staunch Thomas Edison fanatics (you know, those bastards that insist on using incandescent lightbulbs instead of CFL or LED lights) all riled up? Is that it?

    History does indeed show Edison to have been a dick, and it’s quite possible Marconi was the same sort, but the fact that both were dishonest idiots in no way makes all of Tesla’s ideas correct or true. Sure the man was a genius and definitely had some innovative ideas (like as you indirectly pointed out, AC current), but he also had some really fucking weird ideas too, like the resonator he claimed could topple a building through harmonic resonance (the Mythbusters addressed that particular device in one of their episodes btw).

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that movie, The Prestige, you know the one where David Bowie plays Tesla and he invents a teleportation machine?  Sorry, that’s all bullshit, even if Tesla really did think it was possible. If he did invent one of those or something like it, where is it today? Why don’t we teleport to work instead of drive? Could it be that he never actually made such a thing? Naw, musta been that asshole Edison burnt down his lab and drove him out of town.

    BTW, I realize you aren’t claiming that Tesla invented a teleporter, it was just an example. I would love however to know who really invented the light bulb. I know there is some issue of Marconi actually being the first person to build a radio (invent the radio), just as Bell apparently was not the first person to coble together a telephone.  He was however the first person to have the fucking foresight to patent the idea, and ultimately that is all that matters to the history books. 

    Just look at the guy who invented that fucking Smiley Face. Does anybody remember that guy?  Hell no.  He didn’t bother to patent that fucking annoying ass thing, but we see them everywhere.  Is he living high on the hog off all the sweet, sweet smiley face cake that he surely raked in over the years? Hell no. Nobody remembers him because he never bothered to patent that damn thing and when he eventually tried to do so, a court ruled it was too widespread and ruled it was public domain. I think the phrase is: “You snooze, you lose.”

    Another example is the classic one of Xerox inventing both the mouse input device and the GUI operating system, but the executives at the Palo Alto Research center didn’t have the foresight to think these things were anything more than novelties.  I believe they decided to sell both of them to some young turks for what amounted to a song.  Those guys I believe (go ahead and fact check me on this, I’m kinda drunk right now) went on to found a little company called Apple.  Perhaps you’ve heard of them?  In any event, history is written by the victors, not the losers.  Maybe it sucks, but that’s how it goes.

  17. Edison was a careful and exhaustive experimentalist, but he was no theoretician. Tesla, almost the exact opposite, did many “experiments” in his head with little physical prototyping; his brain was like a simulation supercomputer.  The fact that Edison had a research team – and the ability to get them to work long hours for him – doesn’t detract from his accomplishments any more than the pilot of the plane has less meaning because of mechanics, navigators, etc.  Nor does the fact that he was a jerk and a huckster and a ruthless capitalist;  he landed the plane, time after time. 

    Neither Edison or Marconi were “idiots” except perhaps in the modern, internet sense of “someone we probably wouldn’t like if we knew them personally”.  But I suspect that very few famous people are really likable in person.

  18. There were several people working on the light bulb (and radio) at the same time.  Edison was just the one who figured out how to make a filament last long enough to be commercial before the others.  If anyone remembers the old 3M motto “We don’t make things – we make things better”, that is exactly what Edison did.  If Edison had been a theoretician, he would have invented radio first (the Edison Effect led to radio, if I remember correctly), but he only looked at what was immediately usable.  Edison was extremely stubborn and tenacious, which is why he had over 1000 patents, but yet championed DC over AC, even though it became physically obvious that the DC distribution was not economically feasible.

    Matthew Josephson wrote a pretty good bio on Edison.  Showed how tenacious he was in the lab, and how poor he was as a family man.

  19. Henry Ford was an asshole in many ways as well, but that doesn’t diminish his accomplishments in the automotive industry. His company pretty much wrote the book on assembly lines and affordable cars.

  20. Don’t forget Hitler’s contribution to the affordable cars – maybe not very likable, either.  hmmm

  21. “Toxic waste” is a justifiable term for fluorides added to water, since they are toxic, and are waste products from fertiliser and aluminium production, among other things.

    I’m fairly new to the fluoride debate, as it were. My current feeling/notion/belief/whatever-you-want-to-shred is that it seems both reasonable (in an nasty kind of way) and likely that its use did come about as a way to get rid of an expensive problem (the proper disposal of fluorides produced as waste in manufacturing processes).

    Various parties seem to claim various things that I cannot reasonably try to prove or disprove – I’m not a medical research scientist, after all. One thing that I have never seen, is any credible information to back up the claims that water fluoridation is safe, what the 1ppm “safe” level is based on, and/or whether fluoride treatment has ever had any positive effect on dental health.

    Exalting, “Fluoride doesn’t cause cancer!”

    “Fluoride doesn’t lower IQ!”

    “Fluoride doesn’t kill cause miscarriages!”

    … and numerous other refutaations, doesn’t say anything about why we use it when its benefits and safety (apparently) have never been proven either.

  22. Subpixel writes…

    “Toxic waste” is a justifiable term for fluorides added to water, since they are toxic, and are waste products from fertiliser and aluminium production, among other things.

    Try again. Fluorides occur naturally in the environment and there are some water supplies that actually have to have their naturally occurring fluoride levels decreased as a result.

    I’m fairly new to the fluoride debate, as it were. My current feeling/notion/belief/whatever-you-want-to-shred is that it seems both reasonable (in an nasty kind of way) and likely that its use did come about as a way to get rid of an expensive problem (the proper disposal of fluorides produced as waste in manufacturing processes).

    Right. They couldn’t possibly be using it because it demonstrates some helpful utility.

    Various parties seem to claim various things that I cannot reasonably try to prove or disprove – I’m not a medical research scientist, after all. One thing that I have never seen, is any credible information to back up the claims that water fluoridation is safe, what the 1ppm “safe” level is based on, and/or whether fluoride treatment has ever had any positive effect on dental health.

    Try checking the FDA and ADA websites for the info you claim to have never seen. It’s there, you just have to go read it.

    Exalting, “Fluoride doesn’t cause cancer!”

    “Fluoride doesn’t lower IQ!”

    “Fluoride doesn’t kill cause miscarriages!”

    … and numerous other refutaations, doesn’t say anything about why we use it when its benefits and safety (apparently) have never been proven either.

    Simply because you’re ignorant of the studies doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Do some research.

  23. Try again? Fluorides are toxic. I didn’t say that a small amount as may be found occurring naturally in water will kill you stone motherless dead, but drinking a cupful of the compounds added to the water in the fluoridation process almost certainly will. My understanding that even ingesting a tube of fluoride toothpaste is likely to be a lethal dose. Secondly, fluorides are a “by-product” (ie waste product) of certain manufacturing processes, and it makes no sense to refute this (disinfo objectives excluded). I’m not discounting that the manufacturing “by-product” may (in present times) be further processed before it is added to the water, but that does not change the source of the materials. Other impurities, such as lead and arsenic, are known to already exist in the water supply from other sources, and any additional burden from such impurities added as part of the fluoridation process (specifically) are counted in the total levels allowed for drinking water. Having said that, they are also toxic substances.

    Regardless, I’ve come here admitting that I am ignorant of the studies, hoping for some guidance, not instant-aggression abuse, so I take a step back and try asking again…

    I was supposing that you, given your apparent strong belief / high level of awareness, have a list of resources that you are basing your opinion on. I’m asking for you to share that list of resources with me so I can go and check it out for myself.

    I have been looking at ‘A Systematic Review of Public Water Fluoridation’ (the ‘York Review’) published by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination for the UK’s National health Service in 2000 (http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/fluorid.htm), which seems to be referenced by everything else. In the results it states:

    214 studies met full inclusion criteria for one or more of the objectives. No randomised controlled trials of the effects of water fluoridation were found.

    How were these studies found?

    A search of 25 electronic databases (with no language restrictions) and the world-wide-web was undertaken. Relevant journals and indices were hand searched and attempts were made to contact authors for further information.

    Additionally,

    The web site included an e-mail response to enable members of the public and other organisations to submit articles for consideration. In addition to numerous individuals, examples of organisations that submitted lists of references are the National Pure Water Association and the British Fluoridation Society. Furthermore, advisory board members were asked to submit references or reports.

    In a press release, “What the ‘York Review’ on the fluoridation of drinking water really found” (28 October 2003, http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/fluoridnew.htm), the CRD writes:

    We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide.

    What evidence we found suggested that water fluoridation was likely to have a beneficial effect, but that the range could be anywhere from a substantial benefit to a slight disbenefit to children’s teeth.

    This beneficial effect comes at the expense of an increase in the prevalence of fluorosis (mottled teeth). The quality of this evidence was poor.

    An association with water fluoride and other adverse effects such as cancer, bone fracture and Down’s syndrome was not found. However, we felt that not enough was known because the quality of the evidence was poor.

    The evidence about reducing inequalities in dental health was of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable.

    Since the report was published in October 2000 there has been no other scientifically defensible review that would alter the findings of the York review. As emphasised in the report, only high-quality studies can fill in the gaps in knowledge about these and other aspects of fluoridation. Recourse to other evidence of a similar or lower level than that included in the York review, no matter how copious, cannot do this.

    Emphasis added by me.

    So, that appears to me to be a strong suggestion that, up until around October 2003, there wasn’t any high quality evidence available to support claims of a beneficial effect.

    I found a more recent report, ‘A Systematic Review of the Efficacy and Safety of Fluoridation’ published by the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council in 2007 (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/eh41syn.htm). However, in its results, it essentially defers to the York Review of 2000, with very little evidence found since then.

    I do not have the resources to perform more in-depth research than either of these two reports (I’ve been looking into this subject for about week so far), so if you have the info that these systematic reviews missed, please post some links.

    I’ve just had a quick look at the fda.gov site. I’m not sure what to look at; there seem to be hundreds of references to fluoride or fluoridation. Can you narrow it down a bit (to research findings, not general discussion nor assertions)?

    Looking also now at ada.org, I see something called Fluoridation Facts which “includes information from scientific research in an easy to use question and answer format on the topics of effectiveness, safety, practice and cost-effectiveness of fluoridation.” If there is something else that I should be looking at instead of (or in addition to) this, please offer links.

    I’ve just spotted in another comment your link to the CDC “Systematic Reviews: Assessing the Weight of the Evidence” page. I’m concerned at the assertions made about the Australian review and the York Review before that – the results reported by the York Review are not, in my opinion, reflected by the bullet points on this page (nor indeed in the actual Australian review), and the important point of the lack of high quality research is completely omitted.

    I’m not yet familiar with the US National Research Council report published in 2006, but from something I’ve just read about it, I take it that the lack of significant benefit from fluoridation was not examined. To reduce the risk of inciting hatred, I shan’t list any of the adverse effects reported at even low exposures to fluoride. This current line of enquiry is to find any evidence that supports artificial water fluoridation.

    -spxl

  24. Subpixel: “Fluorides are toxic. I didn’t say that a small amount as may be found occurring naturally in water will kill you stone motherless dead, but drinking a cupful of the compounds added to the water in the fluoridation process almost certainly will.”

    A toxicologist will tell you; “The dose makes the poison”.  You can die from drinking too much water at once.  Vitamin D is very toxic: just half a gram would be a fatal dose.  Your body needs selenium, chromium (take care it isn’t C6), lots of stuff that’s toxic in amounts you can just barely see. 

    Most drinking water is treated with sodium hypochlorite to kill bacteria.  That’s bleach!  But on average, the bacteria would kill you before the chlorine will.  (Some studies suggest slightly higher cancer rates with chlorinated water)

    Even wearing a seat belt, or a helmet, will kill you sometimes.  Risk management is a matter of weighing probabilities.

  25. Subpixel: “Toxic waste” is a justifiable term for fluorides added to water, since they are toxic, and are waste products from fertiliser and aluminium production, among other things.

    Subpixel: Fluorides are toxic. I didn’t say that a small amount as may be found occurring naturally in water will kill you stone motherless dead, but drinking a cupful of the compounds added to the water in the fluoridation process almost certainly will.

    decrepitoldfool: A toxicologist will tell you; “The dose makes the poison”.  You can die from drinking too much water at once.  Vitamin D is very toxic: just half a gram would be a fatal dose.  Your body needs selenium, chromium (take care it isn’t C6), lots of stuff that’s toxic in amounts you can just barely see.

    Most drinking water is treated with sodium hypochlorite to kill bacteria.  That’s bleach!  But on average, the bacteria would kill you before the chlorine will.  (Some studies suggest slightly higher cancer rates with chlorinated water)

    Even wearing a seat belt, or a helmet, will kill you sometimes.  Risk management is a matter of weighing probabilities.

    I’d prefer not to call you a bonehead, since what you wrote is correct. It just isn’t in contradiction to what I wrote, therefore I assume you must have misinterpreted what I wrote.

    Given that I was referring to the almost pure substance that is ADDED to the water (not the diluted mixture that is the result), then further explained the difference, can I politely ask that you direct your attention back to my request for pointers to high quality research that supports the positive benefits of water fluoridation?

    As a side note, I haven’t looked into it, but my general understanding is that chlorination is no longer favoured as there are other less-toxic processes available for steralisation.

  26. I’d prefer not to call you a bonehead

    Cool; I didn’t call you one either.  I just don’t see how it says anything relevant about fluorides that they are toxic in mega-doses.  So is Tylenol, and lots of other stuff too.

    There are different classes of toxins.  Some are nutrients in trace amounts.  Others are complex molecules, like snake venom, that undermine specific body functions.  Others (like PCB’s and certain organic mercury compounds) are mutagens, not necessary as trace nutrients at all, and are always bad when they are present in more than vanishingly minute quantities. 

    Here’s the Brit National Health Service page on fluoridation.  (Insert joke about bad Brit teeth here) It summarizes a number of studies if you want to look for them, though the two I Googled were behind journal paywalls.

    You’ll be pleased to know that the Angry Toxicologist agrees with you on one level, that the recommended level of fluorides in drinking water ought to be re-examined. The negative effects are there, but just barely above significance. One thing that muddies the statistical waters, so to speak, is that fluorides are not the only mineral that varies in drinking water and we don’t necessarily know how to correct for the others.  It may be that there is overlap among several effect levels.

    Best thing for teeth has been improvements in dental care.  We no longer ‘drill and fill’ for every little cavity.  Instead, my dentist tells me, we clean up the spot and treat it with a concentrated fluoride compound to remineralize it. As a result my kids are all in their 20’s with no cavities at all.  They have a much better chance of keeping their teeth for their whole lives than I do.

  27. (Are comments being moderated? I don’t mind if they are, I just can’t tell what happened to the comment I tried to submit. I’ll save a copy elsewhere and come back later.)

  28. Okay.

    What I’m looking for is a justification for fluoridation, and proof that it is safe. I probably won’t find one in the anti-fluoridation camp, so I’m looking in your (the pro-fluoridation) camp.

    Adding anything to the water supply, it should have to make its case. If there exists zero high quality studies into the effects of water fluoridation, it seems to be irresponsible to continue it until proper research is done.

    There is a dental crisis in the US at the moment, in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. If fluoridated water is the answer, how can this be? “Best thing for teeth has been improvements in dental care.” Maybe that’s the answer.

    Whilst my asking you to spoon feed me some links might seem lazy, being told to “See earlier in this thread of links to various sources concerning fluoride” is confounding. There are several links, which then have links, to more links… and some exponential number of links/resources to check isn’t exactly helpful.

    I’ve so far tried looking at some of the links.

    The CDC stuff doesn’t appear to be helpful – at least the bits I’ve looked at (there is a lot to look at). Major references are: the York Report, which strongly asserts there has been no high quality research into the effects; the Australian report (which is essentially the same as the York Report); and the NRC report, the gist of which seems to be that the EPA’s safety standard of 4ppm is not safe and should be lowered and gives credence to a raft of possible negative health effects other than dental fluorosis such as damage to the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, but otherwise does not specifically look at the justification of fluoridation.

    I had a look at the NHS link you supplied (http://www.dentalhealthwestmidlands.nhs.uk/keyfacts2004/keyfacts.htm). It seems to be of very poor quality, eg misrepresenting results of the York Review; relies on favourable appraisal from the 1993 NRC report, superceded by the 2006 report, and from the WHO, which (to my understanding) only supposrts water fluoridation ‘by proxy’ (included in a vote on a grab-bag of unrelated issues) and officially has reservations about the practice; and the ‘Ethical Considerations’ section is (in my opinion) outrageous. Perhaps thankfully, it appears to be a regional site, not a national one, though I imagine the national NHS view is probably along the same lines. I think the region is the main region in which water fluoridation is in use in the UK.

    The Angry Toxicologist link (http://scienceblogs.com/angrytoxicologist/2007/07/fluoride_its_not_just_for_teet.php) is interesting. If you read down into the comments on that page you’ll find a lengthy comment by the angry toxo about a very dubious history surrounding the original Newburgh trial from the 1950s (which is invalid), Harold Hodge, the DoD, DuPont and the Manhattan Project.

    With regards to the “toxic waste” comment, I direct you to Les’ original post:

    His attachment was one of the various “fluoride is toxic waste” nonsense filled pamphlets that have been floating around on the Internet for awhile now.

    The implication there is that the compound(s) used for water fluoridation (ie the fluoride, usually hexofluorosilic acid) is not toxic waste, which is in fact false (as I believe we both agree on at this point). Using a false statement to paint an opponent in a bad light reeks of disinfo / propaganda, whether that was the intention or not, and whether or not the rest of the source referred to falls into the “crackpot” category for whatever reason.

  29. (Hmm.. comment issue resolved. Methinks there could be a problem with a long delay between loading the page and submitting the form.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.