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Making money out of fanatics Ken Perrott Aug 29

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bad science

Click on image to enlarge

This looks like a Xcd cartoon. I picked it up from a new Facebook page The Girl Against Fluoride Lies. Good to see more and more Facebook pages like this.

Speaking of fluoride – the cartoon sort of reminds me of Paul Connett’s book – The case against fluoride?

 

Dirty politics on the Royal Society fluoride review Ken Perrott Aug 27

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Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge

In Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research I related how local anti-fluoride propagandists were busy rubbishing the Royal Society of NZ  fluoride review – even before it was released. Now that it is released (see Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence) they have gone into a manic mode – launching press releases and facebook attacks. Given that some of these were launched within hours of the report’s release these propagandists hadn’t bother actually reading the report itself.

These attacks are typical of anti-science people when confronted with scientific information undermining their strong beleifs. As we say in New Zealand, these critics “play the man rather than the ball.” But first, let’s deal with  the single criticism of the scientific content of the report – the question of the mechanisms of the beneficial roles of fluoride for teeth.

The old “topical” argument

The anti-fluoride brigade has a thing about this – claiming that the mode of action of fluoride is by topical contact with the teeth – and then usually they try to claim only high concentrations, as in toothpaste, are effective topically. Anything to rule our a role for fluroidated drinking water.

The Royal Society report discusses various studies, saying they:

“suggest that the predominant effect of fluoride is mainly local (interfering with the caries process) rather than systemic (pre-eruptively changing enamel structure), though the latter effect should not be dismissed.”

It then discusses the evidence for a systemic role in the section Contribution of pre-eruptive fluoride exposure to preventive effects.

“Despite a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the predominant effect of fluoride in mitigating the caries process occurs post-eruptively and topically, some recent studies provide additional evidence of a systemic effect of fluoride on pre-erupted teeth. Singh et al.[79] found that fluoride is acquired in enamel during crown completion in the first permanent molars, during the time that the matrix is formed and calcified in the first 26-27 months of life. The same group had previously evaluated the pre- and posteruptive effects of fluoride exposure at the individual level, controlling for multiple fluoride sources and potential confounders, and showed a significant effect of pre-eruptive fluoride exposure on caries in permanent teeth.[80] However, they determined that maximum benefit was gained by having both pre- and post-eruptive fluoride exposure. Other groups have also found that a higher percentage of total lifetime exposure to fluoride was associated with lower caries burden,[81-83] indicating that fluoride is effective throughout the lifespan, including pre-eruptively.”

Being a scientific review, let’s list the citations used in the section quoted. Interested readers can check them out:

79: Singh, K.A., A.J. Spencer, and D.S. Brennan, Effects of water fluoride exposure at crown completion and maturation on caries of permanent first molars. Caries Res, 2007. 41(1): p. 34-42.
80: Singh, K.A., A.J. Spencer, and J.M. Armfield, Relative effects of pre- and posteruption water fluoride on caries experience of permanent first molars. J Public Health Dent, 2003. 63(1): p. 11-9.
81: Slade, G.D., et al., Associations between exposure to fluoridated drinking water and dental caries experience among children in two Australian states. J Public Health Dent, 1995. 55(4): p. 218-228.
82: Slade, G.D., et al., Caries experience among children in fluoridated Townsville and unfluoridated Brisbane. Aust N Z J Public Health, 1996. 20(6): p. 623-9.
83: Spencer, A.J., J.M. Armfield, and G.D. Slade, Exposure to water fluoridation and caries increment. Community Dent Health, 2008. 25(1): p. 12-22.

Hardly suprising to anyone recognising that reality is rarely as simple as they might desire. The benefits of fluoride are confered both by a systemic effect on pre-erupted teeth and by a topical or surface effects on existing teeth.

Yet Fluoride Free NZ claims (see Fluoridation review ‘Dirty Science’)

“One surprise is that the review has gone so far as to claim that fluoridation works systemically (i.e. by swallowing) before teeth erupt.

This belief was not only scientifically discredited 15 years ago by the US Public Health Service’s Centers for Disease Control, but has also been acknowledged as wrong in court in sworn affidavits by Health Ministry representatives and is contrary to what the top consultant to the MoH’s National fluoridation Information Service told the Hamilton City Council last year”

No real citations there to list – just the “authority” of ignorance. The idea that, as Isaac Asimov said, “democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

I discussed this attempt by Fluoride Free NZ to distort the evidence and literature in my articles Fluoridation – topical confusion and Topical confusion persists. It seems that Fluoride Free NZ would have been happier if the authors of this review had actually ignored the scientific literature on the topic.

Media Manipulation

I will leave aside for now the emotive language and personal attacks used by the anti-fluoride propagandists in their attacks on this review. Also, I will ignore their laughable suggestions for the “experts’ they would have liked to see on the review panel and their demand that such review should actually be a public discussion (yet they refuse to allow any open discussion on their own facebook pages!).

Let’s just consider why these people take the effort to submit press statements that few credible news sources would bother picking up. I discussed this in Anti-fluoridationist astro-turfing and media manipulation where I illustrated how planted press releases were picked up by tame “natural” health websites, Paul Connett’s Fluoride Alert website and their own Facebook and twitter social media. this self-promotion get’s requoted by anti-fluoride propagandists around the world – and sometime even makes its way into mainstream media.

Wellington Anti-fluoride dentist, Stan Litras, planted just such a press release. He provided a misleading headline Review ‘confirms fluoridation must end’ which was picked up and circulated by Connett’s Fluoride Alert. It has also been heavily circulated on Twitter and anti-fluoride Facebook pages.

I guess there are now a host of anti-fluoride activists around the world who actually believe the Fluoride Review produced by the Royal Society of New Zealand recommended the end of fluoridation!

Yet, in fact, the review concluded:

“Councils with established CWF [community water fluoridation] schemes in New Zealand can be confident that their continuation does not pose risks to public health, and promotes improved oral health in their communities, reducing health inequalities and saving on lifetime dental care costs for their citizens. Councils where CWF is not currently undertaken can confidently consider this as an appropriate public health measure, particularly those where the prevalence and severity of dental caries is high.”

How do these guys sleep straight in their bed at night?

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Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective Ken Perrott Aug 22

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A press release from the Royal Society of NZ today. I think the “take home message is:

“The panel concluded that the concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence”


A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. Councils currently implementing this measure can be confident about its public health benefits, while those not currently fluoridating water can consider it a safe and effective option.

The review, entitled Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence, was commissioned by Sir Peter Gluckman, the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and Sir David Skegg, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand at the request of Auckland City on behalf of several local Councils.

“The process for the review was rigorous,” said Sir David Skegg. “It included an extensive evaluation of the scientific literature by a panel of five experts, as well as one lay observer with local body experience. The resulting report was reviewed by three international experts and by the Director of the National Poisons Centre,” he said.

According to Skegg, the panel paid particularly close attention to the claims that fluoride contributes to the risks of cancer, musculoskeletal and hormonal disorders, as well as to claims that it has adverse effects on brain development – these being the major contentions about potential harms that have been made.

“The panel concluded that the concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence,” said Skegg.

According to the report, the only side effect of fluoridation at the levels used in New Zealand is mild dental fluorosis, which can cause opaque white areas in the tooth enamel that is usually of no cosmetic significance. This is found to be as common in non-fluoridated areas as it is in fluoridated areas, which is probably a reflection of behaviour such as swallowing of fluoridated toothpaste by young children.

“The review finds compelling evidence that fluoridation of the water at the established and recommended levels produces broad and continuing benefits for the dental health of New Zealanders,” said Sir Peter Gluckman. “The public can be reassured on the basis of robust scientific data, that the implementation of this public health measure poses no risk of adverse health effects,” he said.

“It is worth noting that dental health remains a major issue for much of the New Zealand population, particularly in communities of low socioeconomic status.”

From a scientific perspective, the report finds that community water fluoridation provides a cost-effective and equitable way of improving public health.  However, it should be noted that the review does not address the broader philosophical issues that have surrounded fluoridation.

Visit Health Effects of Water Fluoridation for full report, executive summary and a list of contributors.

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Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research Ken Perrott Aug 21

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Mark Atkin (“Science and legal advisor” for FFNZ) and Mary Byrne (“National Co-ordinator and media contact” for FFNZ) promote their “magic” fluoride free water.

These activists have a really weird understanding of science and the nature of scientific research. How’s this for press releases from the NZ Fluoride Free Science and Legal Advisor, Mark Atkin:

1: Rubbishing a planned review of the published science around fluoridation by Sir Peter Gluckman (the Prime Minister’s Chief Science advisor) and the NZ Royal society. Mark declares the review is “totally one-sided” and that Gluckman admits this (see Secret Fluoridation Review Totally One-Sided Admits Chair)!

And what is Atkin’s “evidence” for that? Well Gluckman did say:

“this is just straightforward scientists reviewing what’s in the peer reviewed literature about what we know about the safety and efficacy of fluoride in water. It is reviewing the scientific literature.”

And Atkin chose to distort that to mean:

This “‘review’ of water fluoridation will only look at research that supports fluoridationists’ belief in ‘the safety and efficacy of fluoride in water’, says Sir Peter Gluckman, co-chair of this thereby-admitted ‘kangaroo review’.
It is no wonder that scientific studies showing water fluoridation is neither safe nor effective have not been sought for this bogus ‘review’.”

Mark Atkin seems to have a serious comprehension problem.

2: Claiming Waikato University is commissioning research to obtain  predetermined conclusions.

The same day Atkin produced another press release (see Predetermined ‘research’ outcome commissioned by Waikato Uni). He certainlychurns out press releases even if their quality leaves a lot to be desired.

The specific project Atkins is upset about plans to look in detail at:

“nearly 1700 publicly accessible submissions to the Hamilton City Council on the initial decision to remove flouride from Hamilton’s city water supply with a view to tracing interests and other links to private interests and public lobbying groups.”

Rather than making assumptions about the outcome, the research is aimed at establishing if there were links and their extent. The title of the project is “Public Integrity and Participatory Democracy: Hamilton
City Council’s Water Fluoridation Decision.” Surely it is in all our interests to determined how effective our participatory democracy works at the local body level.

Given that the anti-fluoridation activists often claim our democratic processes are distorted by groups like the District Health Boards I would have thought they would welcome this research. Mind you, they may prefer to leave that particular claim unchecked by objective analysis and actually be far more scared of what an objective analysis of the process reveals about their own manipulation and links to private commercial interests and lobby groups.

Isn’t that weird. A “science advisor” who interprets a scientific review “about the safety and efficacy of fluoride in water” to mean that “scientific studies showing water fluoridation is neither safe nor effective” will be excluded! And that research aimed at tracing interests and links of submitters to commercial and lobby groups will only produce a results claiming the links exist without considering any evidence.

Perhaps this is the way Mark Atkin thinks scientific investigations should happen. Perhaps this is the way the “world fluoridation experts” he idolizes, like Paul Connett and Declan Waugh, carry out their “investigations.”

But it is certainly not the way genuine scientific investigations are done.

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The Mind of the Science Denier Ken Perrott Aug 18

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Over recent months I have been following, and learning more about, the issues of fluoridation and the Ukrainian civil war. One is a scientific issue (at least in most of the debate), the other political. Yet in the social media discussions both issues are dominated by motivated reasoning, cherry-picking, confirmation bias and outright prejudice. The same thing is going on in both issues and in many cases show denial, the favouring of belief over facts and evidence.

Donald Prothero points out that this is just human nature. We are not “rational machines,” and, if we are honest, we should all be able to recognises these faults in our own approaches, no matter how sceptical and scientific we think we are.

Prothero presented an interesting talk at the recent Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas, he deals mainly with creationism, climate change denial and anti-vaccination beliefs but the lessons have much wider applicability.

He has some great cartoons in his lecture. But I also liked how he drew lessons from his analysis about how supporters of science and scepticism should deal with discussions when science denial occurs. Simple antagonistic argument and debunking is usually not effective. We need to recognise the beliefs and values underlying the denial and respond to those.

TAM2014 – Donald Prothero – The Mind of the Science Denier.

The lecture is based on part of Prothero’s recent book Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future.

 

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Open letter to Jane Nielson – a “fluoridation convert.” Ken Perrott Aug 13

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Hi Jane,

I read your article in the Sonoma County Gazette which was republished at Paul Connett’s Fluoride Alert website – Fluoridation convert. A scientist explains what changed her mind. You briefly described scientific studies which you claim convinced you to take a stance against community water fluoridation. Apparently you found these so convincing you are now a board member and steering committee member of several anti-fluoridation organisations.

My purpose here is to discuss the studies you refer to because I think your interpretation of them is mistaken. I offer my critique of your interpretation in the spirit of normal scientific exchange and discussion and hope you will respond in the same way.

You wrote that you were exasperated with the fluoridation debate so:

“I started researching for myself. This was familiar terrain: I had published many papers, so I know what it takes to prove a point scientifically, and the data required to get a paper published. I had performed analyses, plotted data and defended my research and interpretations in public forums.”

Good on you. I believe experience in scientific research, scientific publication and the use of scientific literature helps cultivate a critical and intelligent approach to the literature. I think this is essential if one seriously wishes to make sense of apparently contradictory evidence and overcome one’s own confirmation bias.

Is fluoridation effective? The WHO data

You say:

“I quickly found World Health Organization data that stunned me:

• Tooth decay has plummeted in developed countries worldwide, regardless of fluoridation.

• Cavity rates are the same—or even lower – in many non-fluoridated countries compared to the U.S.”

Just a minute! Did you look at the WHO data carefully? Did you take into account the well established multiple factors, beside fluoride, influencing dental health? (Things like diet, health services, dental treatments available, other social health services etc.) Did you consider the difficulty of drawing conclusions from data, especially a small amount of data, taken from different cultural, social and political situations? And, importantly, did you check out the WHO data which compared data from fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas in the same country? (Many of the other confounding factors can be eliminated by making comparisons  within a country).

The figure on the left below is the one most often used by anti-fluoride activists for obvious reasons – it confirms their bias. But it suffers from all the problems mentioned above (including the fact that the straight lines result from using just 2 data points for each country) and so does not allow a truly objective  person to conclude what you have.

Surely with your scientific experience you checked out the detail in the data – such as the WHO data for the Irish Republic which included that for both fluoridated and unflouridated areas? The plot of that data (see figure in the right) suggests your conclusion is unwarranted (the dotted line is the average of fluoridated and unfluoridated and corresponds to the data in the graph on the left.).

combined-who-ireland

My conclusion from the WHO data is that tooth decay has decreased in all these European countries over the last 30 years. Fluoride is just one factor in this but it is wrong to conclude from the WHO data that fluoride is ineffective (see Fluoride Debate).

Dental fluorosis

This concerns you because:

• The one clear correlation with water fluoridation is disfiguring “dental fluorosis” supposedly only a cosmetic problem.

But, Jane, have you looked at the available data on dental fluorosis carefully? Your conclusion is a misinterpretation which anti-fluoride propagandist love to promote because it confirms their bias – “fluoridation causes a “disfiguring” complaint – dental fluorosis.” But “disfiguring” or serious dental fluorosis is not caused by community water fluoridation. It is caused by excessively high fluoride dietary intake due to high natural levels of fluoride, industrial contamination or obsessive consumption of toothpaste. It is also very rare in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Dental specialists identify various levels of fluorosis ranging from not present, through questionable, very mild, mild, moderate to severe – see the figures below (taken from Fluorosis Facts: A Guide for Health Professionals):

Fluorosis-pie-chart

Some idea of the appearance of dental fluorosis at these various levels in given by the photos below.

df

 I agree that often (not always) the occurrence of total dental fluorosis may be higher for people in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated area – but the “disfiguring” moderate and severe forms are not the result of community water fluoridation. The milder forms which may arise from community water fluoridation tend to be either unnoticeable or so mild as to be of only cosmetic significance.

So Jane, I am surprised that with your scientific experience you came to such an unwarranted conclusion. If you had truly looked at the data intelligently and critically surely you would not have drawn the extreme conclusion you did about community water fluoridation and dental fluorosis.

What about studies showing fluoridation is ineffective?

You refer to studies which show only minimal or no difference in oral health between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. I have also seen those studies. But you and I are scientists so know we should always look at the details and not rely on the conclusions drawn by political activists who misinterpret these studies. Hell, as scientists we shouldn’t even rely in the conclusions made by the researchers themselves – we should always look at the details.

Tooth decay for children living in fluoridated and unfluoridated areas has been compared in many studies. It is easy to find results confirming ones bias – pro-fluoridation or anti- fluoridation. So as scientists both you and I should consider all the studies – not just those confirming our particular bias. That should be obvious to us.

I have seen plenty of studies showing a positive effect of community water fluoridation on oral health – so how do I deal with those other studies showing no effect? Well, I certainly don’t ignore them but it helps to look at the details. For example, in my article Fluoridation: what about reports it is ineffective?  I discussed a 1985 paper by a New Zealand researcher, John Colquhoun, who found no differences in tooth decay between children in fluoridated and unfluoridated areas.

Colquhoun, who was also an antiifluoridation campaigner, chose to conclude that fluoridation had no effect on oral health. But here is the problem – the children in the non-fluoridated areas he studied all received regular topical dental fluoride application treatments, whereas most of the children in the fluoridated areas did not.  So the lack of effect was hardly surprising. In scientific terminology his control group was not a proper control.

What happens when fluoridation is stopped

The studies showing no increase in tooth decay when fluoridation is stopped are continually quoted by anti-fluoridation propagandists – but never the ones that do show such an increase. So your reading of the published studies cannot have been very thorough for you to conclude:

 “Tooth decay did not go up when fluoridation was stopped.”

For example, consider just one study in South-west Scotland by Attwood and Blinkhorn (1991) I discussed in article What happens when fluoridation is stopped?   The figure below displays some of their data

Decayed missing and filled teeth for 10 year olds. Stranraer fluoridated until 1983. Annan not fluoridated.

This study showed tooth decay increased after fluoridation was stopped in one town (Stranraer) even though there was a general decrease in tooth decay (no doubt resulting from things like improvements in diet, tooth brushing, dental treatments, etc.) indicated by the data from the town that had never been fluoridated (Annan).

Still, what about those studies which showed no increase in tooth decay when fluoridation was stopped? Studies in Cuba, the former East Germany and Finland are frequently quoted by anti-fluoridation activists.  I discussed these  in my article What happens when fluoridation is stopped? 

In all the studies referred to the researchers themselves drew attention to the role of other factors which helped maintain oral health. For example, the introduction of a school mouthrinsing programme, which has involved fortnightly mouthrinses with 0.2% NaF solutions” in La Salud, Cuba. Or “improvements in attitudes towards oral health behaviour and, on the other hand, to the broader availability and application of preventive measures (F-salt, F-toothpastes, fissure sealants etc.)” in the former East Germany.

The authors of the Finnish study even warned against drawing the conclusion you have from these studies:

“The main reason for the modest effect of water fluoridation in Finnish circumstances is probably the widespread use of other measures for caries prevention. The children have been exposed to such intense efforts to increase tooth resistance that the effect of water fluoridation does not show up any more. The results must not be extrapolated to countries with less intensive preventive dental care.”

The whole issue of dental health is clearly complex and many factors influence it. As a scientist used to dealing with complex issues you must surely agree the scientific literature should not be cherry-picked. It must be approached critically and intelligently.

Apply It, or Swallow It?

Finally, Jane, we come to the question of the mode of action of fluoride – does it work systemically via ingestion, or topically by a surface reaction on existing teeth? You assert:

In recent years the differentiation between swallowing fluoride and coating teeth with it has become lost in the discussion. But this differentiation is essential. The overwhelming consensus among scientists, including the Centers for Disease Control CDC and the National Research Council, is that fluoride works when it’s applied to the tooth surface, NOT when it’s swallowed.

I know this is the position anti-fluoride propagandists keep promoting but it doesnt actually accord with the evidence. Research shows ingested fluoride plays a beneficial role during tooth development before eruption (see my article Ingested fluoride is beneficial to dental health.

With existing teeth fluoride transferred from water and food during drinking and eating helps maintain a concentration in saliva and tooth biofilms necessary to inhibit tooth decay by a surface reaction. Researchers usually refer to the reaction of fluoride at the tooth surface responsible for inhibiting demineralisation and promoting remineralisation as the “predominate” – not the only – mechanism for the beneficial role of fluoride.

Jane, you should have read the CDC report you refer to more carefully. Far from denying a role for “swallowed” fluoride the  CDC report Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States actually says:

“However, drinking fluoridated water, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, or using other fluoride  dental products can raise the concentration of fluoride in saliva present in the mouth 100-to 1,000-fold. The concentration returns to previous levels within 1–2 hours but, during this time, saliva serves as an important source of fluoride for concentration in plaque and for tooth remineralization.”

Unfortunately, opponents of CWF claim this surface mechanism means that ingested fluoride plays no role and fluoride is only effective when topically applied – as with toothpaste. This is a gross simplification and distortion. Ingested fluoride is beneficial to teeth duing their development before eruption. And ingested fluoride contributes to the surface reaction protecting existing teeth.

Fluoridated toothpaste (and dental fluoride applications) also contribute to this surface reaction. But the more frequent “top-up” of saliva fluoride concentrations via drinking fluoridated water also make an important contribution.

An invitation

Jane, I don’t claim to have provided the final answer to all criticisms of community water fluoridation here. I have simply responded to your assessments and shown why I think them wrong.

I am open to hearing your responses to my critique and welcome any scientific exchange on this important issue with you.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Ken Perrott.

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Accidental Renaissance – or intuition? Ken Perrott Aug 11

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Rada-fight

Saw this photo on the Guardian – see Accidental Renaissance: the photos that look like Italian paintings. The author says:

“Currently doing the rounds on Twitter is the image below, taken from Facebook by artist James Harvey, whose tweet has been shared thousands of times. It depicts one of the fairly frequent brawls in Ukrainian parliament which, while undoubtedly ugly to fans of democracy and national stability, is beautiful on a purely aesthetic level.”

I can appreciate the good composition in the photo even without the description of it’s adherence to the Fibonacci spiral. But I am happy with the description if this sort of photo as a happy accident:

“A court photographer obviously didn’t have the kind of time Michelangelo did to compose his image, but its serendipity makes it even more magical. The hands that swarm in at the edges of the photograph give it a weirdly Renaissance quality too: in those paintings, hands do so much of the emotional heavy lifting – they supplicate, pray, and constantly reach for the divine.”

I think that composition comes naturally to an experienced and good photographer. They might not be consciously thinking about Fionacci spirals or the golden ratio but years of practice helps them recognise good composition and the “right moment” to push the shutter.

Let’s give the photographer some credit and attribute the results to intuition based on years of experience rather than a happy accident or serendipity.

Tactics for science denial Ken Perrott Aug 06

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Natural News comes out with a load of heavy metal rubbish on flouride Ken Perrott Aug 03

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Heavy-MetalsFRAUD

The web site “Natural News” is a prime source of information for alternative and “natural” health enthusiasts. It promotes a lot of misinformation on fluoridation and is often cited by anti-fluoridation propagandists. So – no surprise to see a recent campaign in social media promoting a Natural News article Natural News exclusive: Fluoride used in U.S. water supplies found contaminated with lead, tungsten, strontium, aluminum and uranium.

The article was dutifully tweeted ad nauseum and of course local anti-fluoride campaigners also dutifully and uncritically promoted it. But no-one actually looked at the data in the article to see if it was in any way meaningful or supported the claims of contamination being made. In fact, it is just another example of the sort of misrepresentation I referred to in the article Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination. That is, people getting hysterical about contamination  data which actually show very low levels of contaminants.  Getting hysterical about numbers just because they are numbers without any understanding of what they mean.

Lead researcher – the Health Ranger

Mike Adams, who calls himself the Health Ranger, wrote the article which pretends to be a scientific investigation of contaminants in 6 samples of sodium fluoride obtained from Chinese sources. He reports the maximum and average values of a number of contaminants. Of course he uses parts per billion (ppb) because that gives him larger numbers by a factor of 1000 than the usually used parts per million (ppm). I will convert his values for readers and compare them with values found in Australia and New Zealand for contaminants in fluorosilicic acid, the most commonly used fluoridation chemical (actually fluorosilicic acid is also the most commonly used fluoridation chemical in the USA – so its strange that the “Health Ranger’ didn’t analyse that).

The table below compares “the Health Ranger’s” analytical values with those for fluorosilicic acid reported in my article  Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination. Also included are the regulated maximum values for these two fluoridation chemicals. I have included only values for arsenic and lead as these are the only ones of “the Health Ranger’s” list included in New Zealand regulations (see NZ Water and Wastes Association Standard for “Water Treatment Grade” fluoride, 1997).

Arsenic (ppm) Lead (ppm)
Fluorosilicic acid
Regulated maximum 132 132
Range certificates 1.1 – 4.3 <0.001 – <5
Sodium Fluoride – Mike Adams
Regulated maximum 366 366
Maximum – NN 0.14 1.0
Average – NN 0.07 0.3

So, “the Health Ranger” produces hysterical headlines for fluoridation chemicals using figures showing extremely low levels of contamination! They are even low in comparison with the fluoridation chemicals used in New Zealand and they are certainly very much lower than the local regulated maxima. And don’t forget that these concentrated chemicals are diluted millions of times over when added to drinking water.

Yes, I know, there are some people who think any measured value is too much. But put this into context. Even the most pristine water or food will contain (very low) levels of contaminants if we use an analytical method that is extremely sensitive. That is why we should check claims of contamination by comparison with “uncontaminated” material and regulated maximum values. We must put the numbers into context.

Contamination from source water – not treatment chemicals

To put the situation of fluoridation chemicals into further context contribution of contaminants to drinking water from other sources should be considered. In Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context I compared the amounts of arsenic contributed from fluoridation chemicals to local drinking water (Hamilton City in the Waikato) to the arsenic already present in the source water from the Waikato River. The figure below shows any contribution from the fluoridation chemicals used is miniscule compared with the natural levels already in the water.

I won’t comment on the other heavy metals “the Health Ranger,” (who describes himself as the “lead researcher” in this pathetic study) mentions as they are not covered by local regulations. However, the certificates of analysis for fluorosilicic acid included in my article Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination all reported Uranium at levels  < 2 ppm. “The Health Ranger” reported a maximum of 1.4 ppm and average of 0.2 ppm.  Not so impressive in ppm – you can see why he prefers ppb.

Similarly he makes a song and dance about titanium – despite the fact that he detected it in only 2 of his 6 samples and at concentrations apparently too low to enable “quantitative analysis.”

Conclusion

Cleary another scare-mongering article from Natural news. It is accepted uncritically by anti-fluoride activists and heavily promoted by their propagandists. But it is worthless – some would say fraudulent.

This sort of fraud going on in the “natural” health movement needs to be widely exposed. The ordinary reader has no way of evaluating these claims or the numbers involved. However exposure of these sort of fraudulent articles will help readers  be wary about future claims from these sources.

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July ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking Ken Perrott Aug 01

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 get-1000-visits-a-dayImage Credit: Learn Blog Tips

There are now over 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.

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for July 2014. Ranking is by visit numbers. I have listed the blogs in the table below, together with monthly visits and page view numbers.

Meanwhile I am still keen to hear of any other blogs with publicly available sitemeter or visitor stats that I have missed. Contact me if you know of any or wish help adding publicly available stats to your bog.

You can see data for previous months at Blog Ranks

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Visit Rank Blog Visits/month Page Views/month
1 Whale oil beef hooked 2067499 3424236
2 Kiwiblog 464149 794565
3 The Daily Blog 226522 366224
4 The Standard 203712 444021
5 Transport Blog 156922 160849
6 The Dim-Post 56504 80703
7 Throng New Zealand 43672 79016
8 Liturgy 42217 56349
9 Sciblogs 41178 52242
10 NewZeal 37534 52102
11 Keeping Stock 34734 52677
12 No Right Turn 27462 37118
13 Homepaddock 25446 34940
14 No Minister 21899 28258
15 Bill Bennett 20405 23519
16 Music of sound 18992 23883
17 Imperator Fish 13118 17928
18 The REAL Steve Gray 12151 16927
19 TVHE 11599 13485
20 Offsetting Behaviour 11562 16470
21 Open Parachute 10050 13927
22 Social Media & the 2014 Election 10026 13317
23 Hot Topic 9917 16004
24 Keith Johnson Wellington NZ 9725 10103
25 Fields of Blood 9614 13736
26 Rugby Tips 9541 11665
27 13th Floor 9518 13051
28 MandM 8733 9655
29 Liberation 8583 11511
30 Right Reason 8181 12105
31 Dark Brightness 8070 8221
32 Lance Wiggs 7922 9023
33 Aotearoa: A wider perspective 7736 10104
34 Tikorangi The Jury Garden 7433 10289
35 Anglican down under 7102 9663
36 Autism & Oughtisms 6440 6500
37 Home education Foundation 6225 9224
38 Lindsay Mitchell 6031 7738
39 Matte Shot 5838 9196
40 Talking Auckland 5685 7658
41 Cycling in Christchurch 4619 6256
42 Scepticon 4554 5110
43 Teaching the Teacher 4529 6138
44 Reading the maps 4422 5844
45 Mousehouse 4240 7206
46 Avalon’s Guide: Emigrate to New Zealand 4130 5256
47 Kiwi Cakes 3821 5351
48 In the back of the net 3718 5466
49 New Zealand Conservative 3422 5113
50 Quote Unquote 2614 2986
51 Canterbury Atheists 2561 3022
52 Episto 2524 3442
53 Vomkrieg 2479 4351
54 Waiology 2414 2946
55 Eye on the ICR 2405 3231
56 Open Parachute @ SciBlogs 2399 2802
57 Chris no-frills 2168 3148
58 Rodney’s Aviation Ramblings 2121 2685
59 Crime Watch 2066 3063
60 Otagosh 2040 3313
61 Pdubyah – a life just as ordinary 1955 3249
62 My thinks 1877 2073
63 Scotty Donaldson 1795 2221
64 The Woolshed Wargamer 1770 3000
65 Windy Hilltops 1636 2501
66 PM of NZ 1451 1733
67 Put ‘em all on an island 1410 1795
67 Anne Free Spirit 1410 2520
69 Socialist Aotearoa 1408 1613
70 james lin’s blog 1299 1314
71 Blessed Economist 1149 1401
71 ROI Marketing 1149 1660
73 Michael Jeans 1089 1446
74 Helen Heath 1065 1460
75 Life of Andrew 1047 1235
76 ICT Teaching and Learning  1039 1229
76 Life Behind the IRon Drape 1039 1660
78 Code for Life 1021 1139
79 Notes from the bartender 984 1108
80 Cut your hair 974 986
81 A communist at large 960 1274
82 Ideologically impure 953 1107
83 From the Earth’s End 896 1180
84 misc.ience @ Sciblogs 873 951
85 Man of Errors 846 944
86 Sustain:if:able Kiwi 828 1342
87 A Bee of a Certain Age 804 869
88 True Paradigm 796 1104
89 sticK 770 933
90 OracleNZ by Francisco Munoz Alvarez 759 1022
91 Einstein Music Journal# 750 810
92 Tales from a Café Chick# 720 1050
93 Stitchbird 715 1231
94 One Furious Llama 704 785
95 Media Sport and Other Rantings 700 791
96 Brad Heap 697 868
97 Undeniably Atheist 664 800
98 Capitalism is bad 640 1424
99 Life is not a race to be finished first 639 1069
100 Goings on at the Madbush Farm 633 770
101 Tauranga Blog 625 715
102 Room 5 @ Melville Intermediate School 600 810
103 Show your workings 598 785
104 AmeriNZ 588 908
105 White & Black 568 728
105 Halfdone 568 739
107 Tararua District Library 565 768
108 Get Out Gertrude! 546 676
109 roarprawn 516 684
110 Room One @ Auroa School 510 1650
111 Jo Blogs 508 991
112 Webweaver’s world 477 575
113 The IT Countrey Justice 476 635
114 The Fundy Post 453 586
115 Hitting Metal With A Hammer 447 620
116 Polit Ecol 441 497
117 Skeptiocon @ Sciblogs 426 457
118 Brennan McDonald 399 466
118 Four seasons in one 399 430
120 Exile in New zealand 396 637
121 Islamnz.com 391 759
122 Software development and stuff 348 373
123 Riddled 346 514
124 Artichoke 342 389
125 The Genetically Insane 341 423
126 The Gentically Insane 330 420
127 eyeCONTACT 326 399
128 Stratford Aerodrome 325 428
129 Stats Chat 320 460
130 Kidney Punch  315 344
131 Creative Voice# 300 390
132 Family integrity 290 333
133 Cimba7200’s thoughts 289 421
134 Anarchia 287 359
135 Moving the crowd 284 5168
136 goNZo Freakpower Brains Trust 281 312
137 Samuel Dennis 276 282
138 Kutarere’s Blog  275 325
139 Spatula Forum 272 307
140 Glennis’s Blog Page# 270 330
141 The Little Waaagh! That Could 261 313
142 Toni Twiss 253 254
143 Upstage 251 498
144 ElephaNZa  242 247
145 Taradale Blog# 240 330
145 Mountains of Our Minds# 240 300
147 Rest Area 300m 238 312
148 King’s High School Library 236 372
149 Glenview 9 233 267
150 kiwi simplexity 229 240
151 Perissodactyla 228 275
152 Something Interesting to read 227 262
153 $100 Dialysis 226 248
154 Pointless and adsurb 223 287
155 Derek’s blog 218 322
156 Science in a van 217 288
157 Manaia Kindergarten 216 328
158 MartinIsti Blog 215 270
159 Ruggerblogger 201 334
160 SmallTorque 194 234
161 Dad4justice 193 243
162 kiwiincanberra 187 298
162 Wokarella 187 298
164 Write to travel 183 242
165 Fuller’s watch# 180 300
165 Nelsonian’s life 180 300
165 AnneKcam
180 390
168 High voltage learning during the Christchurch earthquakes 179 315
169 UpsideBackwards 175 223
170 Sharlene says 164 394
171 At home with Rose 144 183
172 Dragonsinger 140 191
173 Recess Monkey 136 172
173 NZ First Youth 136 176
175 ZNO 132 157
176 Looking in the square 131 143
177 Sam Books and Thoughts 129 175
178 Korero Pt England 128 216
179 The Well read Kitty 125 136
180 Nine Inch Nails 120 150
181 Aphrodite rises 119 136
182 Journey to a mini me 118 146
183 jo russ photo diary 116 139
183 You’re Underthinking 116 120
183 Kiwidollar.com 116 133
186 Politicalisation 115 135
187 Springston School Library Blog 110 146
188 Lost Soul 109 130
189 Virtual North 108 236
190 Unity Blog 107 141
191 Pt England Scribes 100 128
192 Creative Collision 99 100
193 Canvassing for opinion 97 130
193 Ultimate Student 97 152
195 TimG_Oz Blog 94 115
196 John Macilree’s Weblog# 90 90
197 Prior Knowledge  89 93
198 Making IT Happen 84 112
198 Carolyn’s blog 84 112
200 Millenium X 83 133
201 Augmented Ether 79 102
202 Sleeping with books 76 80
203 New Zealand Indian Fine Arts Society 68 85
204 Sportsfreak 66 178
205 round design 64 66
206 John Macilree’s Blog 61 66
207 The Catalyst 60 90
207 Room 24, 2012 60 60
207 James McKerrow – Surveyor 1834-1919# 60 60
210 Whitireia Journalism School 57 66
211 Discovery Time 55 114
211 Shelly van Soest Artist 55 87
213 KJT 53 62
214 Social Policy Bonds Blog 50 62
215 Neil Stockley 48 55
216 Oracle of Okarito 47 55
217 The First Fifteen @ TIS 44 103
218 Busy Peas 43 51
219 University of Otago, Law Library Blog 39 58
220 Woodleigh Nursery 38 807
222 Football Tragic NZ 36 36
222 Frontlawn 36 45
224 Nathanael Baker 31 40
224 Ellie Great 31 34
226 The Official Ebenezer Teichelmann Blog# 30 30
227 Save our schools NZ 28 31
228 Two Minutes Sport 27 85
228 Tangled up in purple 27 41
230 The Secret Life of Russ  26 31
230 A conservative perspective 26 30
232 Kyle MacDonald 24 36
233 Green is good 23 27
233 Mad Young Thing 23 25
235 Moments of Whimsy 21 36
236 Anticipating future impacts 20 24
236 Kiwiaventuras 20 25
238 SageNZ 18 24
238 Wysiwygpurple’s Blog 18 18
240 Palmerston North.ifo 17 23
240 New Zealand female Firefighter calendar 17 17
240 Rambling Reflections 17 17
243 But Now 16 16
244 LoveColour Blog 13 15
244 ah! New Year’s Resolution 13 13
246 Relatively science 12 14
247 Think Beyond 10 10
247 Infectious thoughts 10 10
247 In this moment 10 12
250 Blair for Mayor 9 9
250 global village governance 9 13
252 ICTPD 8 8
252 Grumpollie 8 11
252 Robtuckerpix’s Blog  8 9
255 A developing Geneticist 7 8
255 SilverSpikes Photography  7 25
255 Unknown Future 7 9
255 ZL2UCX’s Blog 7 8
259 Works in progress 6 6
259 ObservatioNZ 6 6
259 West City Darts 6 136
262 TraLIS blog 5 5
262 DMP Lead Free 5 5
262 Bob McKerrow – Wayfarer 5 6
265 Kiwi Chronicles 4 4
265 Liminal Spaces 4 8
265 Moderation Blog 4 4
265 Roger Nome’s progressive Politics 4 4
269 Here I stand 3 4
269 Mars 2 Earth 3 3
269 Porirua EMO 3 5
272 Scott & Sarah Kennedy 2 2
272 Uncensored 2 2
272 Born on State Highway 1 2 2
272 Yea or Nay 2 2
276 Love your work 1 3
276 Today is my birthday 1 1
276 The Meaning of Trees 1 1
276 amiria [blog] 1 3
276 pasture Harmonies 1 1

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