Ken Perrott

Dr Ken Perrott trained as a chemist and his research background is in surface chemistry, soil science and fertiliser chemistry. After working in the DSIR (Chemistry Division and Soil Bureau), MAF, MAFTech and AgResearch he is now retired. Ken enjoys discussion of the wider social and philosophical issue surrounding science. Unfortunately these issues are often misrepresented in our society and he believe scientists have a responsibility to counter unscientific thinking and movements. This is one of the reasons Ken got into blogging, starting up Open Parachute in the middle of 2007.

Activist confusion at fluoridation bill hearing (and coffee) - Open Parachute

Mar 24, 2017

I have been in Wellington for the Parliamentary select committee hearings on fluoridation. Well, that was the excuse – I was really there to catch up with my family (always a joy and am amazed at how tall my grandson has become) and to enjoy the great food in Wellington cafes. Havana Coffee Works in Tory Street, Wellington. Great coffee and chance to see roasting in action. On the site of what was the old Wellington Milk Department in the 1950s. This time I also set out to acquire some freshly-roasted coffee beans from one if the many roasters in Wellington. The Havana roaster turned out to be a surprise. Not only are their coffee beans excellent ( I am looking forward to getting home and drinking coffee made with them) – they are based in Tory Street as the site of … Read More

Anti-fluoride authors indulge in data manipulation and statistical porkies - Open Parachute

Mar 12, 2017

Darrell Huff & Irving Geis wrote a classic book – How to Lie With Statistics. They outline various ways data can be presented to give the wrong story. However, there is an even more naive use of statistics to misrepresent data – just declare that a relationship is statistically significant, don’t show any data or statistical analysis. Unfortunately, many people are fooled by the use of those magical words – “statistically significant.” I suppose the lay person could be excused – although it would pay even them to be a bit more sceptical about such claims. But it seems that even some “scientific” journals, or perhaps inadequate peer reviewers, can be fooled by those magical words. Here is an example in the paper by Hirzy et al., (2015) in the journal Fluoride. (Yes, I know, this journal is well known for … Read More

February ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Mar 01, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for February 2017. Ranking is by visit numbers. There are about 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake or get your stats wrong). Every month I get queries from people wanting their own blog included. I encourage and am happy to respond to queries but have prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) people can check out. Have a look at NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. This is particularly helpful to those wondering how to set up sitemeters. Please note, the system is automatic and relies on blogs having sitemeters which allow public access to the stats. I … Read More

EPA comprehensively debunks anti-fluoride claims of a fluoride-IQ effect - Unsorted

Feb 26, 2017

The US environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied an anti-fluoride petition to ban community water fluoridation. The document outlining its reasons for declining the petition is valuable because it considers all the arguments and evidence presented in the petition and comprehensively shows them to be misleading or even false. This is a humiliating defeat for the petitioners – the US  Fluoride Action Network (FAN), Food & Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and Moms Against Fluoridation. FAN, and in particular Michael Connett, had put a lot of work into their petition. The petition is a 76-page document, heavily referenced and, importantly, presenting all the best arguments that FAN could find. FAN did not keep any of their powder dry. FAN propaganda video promoting their petition to the EPA … Read More

Anti-fluoridationists go to Supreme Court – who is paying for this? - Open Parachute

Feb 22, 2017

The costly battle to prevent fluoridating the water supply of two small Taranaki towns has gone on for four years – and it looks like continuing. Last October the South Taranaki District Council won a costly four-year court battle for the right to fluoridate the water supplies of Patea and Waverley. New Health NZ, which took High Court action to prevent fluoridation,  appealed several times against the decisions that went against them. Now the Supreme Court of New Zealand has granted New Health NZ the right to appeal those decisions (see Supreme court grant right for another appeal for New Zealand’s fluoride “test case”). Hopefully, a Supreme Court rejection of their appeals will put an end to the matter. But it has been an expensive process. South Taranaki District Council’s corporate services group manager Phillippa Wilson said: “The costs to date are in … Read More

Debunking a “classic” fluoride-IQ paper by leading anti-fluoride propagandists - Open Parachute

Feb 21, 2017

Three of the paper’s authors – Quanyong Xiang (1st Left), Paul Connett (2nd Left) and Bill Hirzy (far right) – preparing to bother the EPA. Anti-fluoride groups and “natural”/alternative health groups and websites are currently promoting a new paper by several leading anti-fluoride propagandists. For two reasons: It’s about fluoride and IQ. The anti-fluoride movement recently decided to give priority to this issue in an attempt to get recognition of possible cognitive deficits, rather than dental fluorosis,  as the main negative health effect of community water fluoridation. They want to use the shonky sort of risk analysis presented in this paper to argue that harmful effects occur at much lower concentrations than currently accepted scientifically. Anti-fluoride guru, Paul Connett, has confidently predicted that this tactic will cause the end of community water fluoridation very soon! The authors are anti-fluoride luminaries – often described (by anti-fluoride activists) … Read More

Islamophobia or mental illness? - Open Parachute

Feb 16, 2017

Mental illness is far more widespread than we often wish to admit. In fact, it is probably worth considering it a normal part of life – like the occasional cold or other ailments we all get. But occasionally mental illness can be more debilitating – even embarrassing. Does any family not have a member who sometimes embarrasses them by behaving inappropriately? I will be upfront and say this has been the case in my family. I can certainly understand why sometimes the law needs to take into account metal illness, or even turn a blind eye to behaviour which may be insulting or technically illegal. That was my first response to the reported abuse of a Muslim woman in Huntly. Now that this has come to court I hope the person who was abusive gets some understanding from the court, and the help … Read More

Non-fluoridated Christchurch does not have better teeth than fluoridated Auckland - Open Parachute

Feb 07, 2017

It seems every time anti-fluoride propagandists present data it is either cherry-picked, distorted or misleading. Often all three. So it is hardly a surprise to find local anti-fluoride propagandists are telling porkies again. They have been promoting this graphic claiming it shows people in “non-fluoridated Christchurch have “better teeth.” But the graphic is based on naive cherry-picking of the data, it ignores the effect different ethnic groups have on the data and it uses a single cherry-picked year which fits their bias. On top of that, axis values have been chosen to exaggerate differences and the labels are incorrect. The “non-fluoridated Christchurch” category uses data for Canterbury and the “fluoridated Hamilton” category uses data of the Waikato. It seems that several of the commenters on the Fluoride Free NZ Facebook page where this graphic was first used saw the problems and raised them. All they got is insults for … Read More

January ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Feb 01, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for January 2017. There are about 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake or get your stats wrong). Every month I get queries from people wanting their own blog included. I encourage and am happy to respond to queries but have prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) people can check out. Have a look at NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. This is particularly helpful to those wondering how to set up sitemeters. Please note, the system is automatic and relies on blogs having sitemeters which allow public access to the stats. Ranking is by visit numbers. I … Read More

Debunking anti-fluoridationist’s remaining 12 reasons for opposing fluoridation - Open Parachute

Jan 31, 2017

New Zealand anti-fluoride campaigners have whittled their list of objections to community water fluoridation (CWF) down to 12 reasons. Maybe that’s progress – they used to tout a list of 50 reasons! Let’s go through that list one by one and see if any stand up. I am responding here to each reason given in the Fluoride Free New Zealand’s (FFNZ) document Top 12 Reasons why Fluoridation Should End. You can download a printable version of my responses. 1: Fluoride works by a surface reaction with existing teeth but research shows that it has a beneficial systemic effect with developing teeth. The document asserts that “Fluoride promoters now claim that if there is any benefit from fluoride it is from contact with the surface of the tooth” and cite as their authority a High Court judge (incidentally, from a … Read More