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.

August ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Sep 02, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for August 2017. Please note: Sitemeter is no longer working so the total number of NZ blogs in this list has been drastically reduced. I recommend anyone with Sitemeter consider transferring to one of the other meters. See  NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. 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 … Read More

Fluoridation not associated with ADHD – a myth put to rest - Open Parachute

Sep 01, 2017

 The myth of community water fluoridation causing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is just not supported by the data. I show this in a new paper accepted for publication in the British Dental Journal. This should remove any validity for the claims about ADHD by anti-fluoride campaigners. Mind you, I do not expect them to stop making those claims. The citation for this new paper is (will be): Perrott, K. W. (2017). Fluoridation and attention hyperactivity disorder – a critique of Malin and Till. British Dental Journal. In press. The Background The fluoridation causes ADHD myth was initially started by the publication of Malin & Till’s paper in 2015: Malin, A. J., & Till, C. (2015). Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States: an ecological association. Environmental … Read More

Are fluoride researchers sacked for their findings? - Open Parachute

Aug 11, 2017

Heard the one about the scientist who was doing excellent research but was sacked by her Institute because her discoveries shattered the prevailing “scientific orthodoxies?” Yes, it is a common claim. Often made by activists promoting conspiracy theories.  But it is an easy one to make and it is always worth checking the facts in such cases. Of course, the anti-fluoridation movement is no exception – they claim that a number of “anti-fluoridation scientists” have been sacked for their work. Here I will just look at one of these stories – that of Dr Phyllis Mullenix. The Mullenix story A few facts. Dr Phyllis Mullenix – employment terminated because of her fluoride research or other reasons? Image credit: NYC Coalition Against Artificial Fluoridation. Phyllis Mullenix was working for the Forsyth Research Institute in Boston. In her time there, she researched several possible neurotoxicants but made … Read More

Fluoridation and cancer - Open Parachute

Aug 08, 2017

We all know the phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” If nothing else, this should warn us not to take on faith arguments which rely on statistical analysis for their credibility. Wikipedia uses this phrase to illustrate the “persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.” Yes, you have. And one lie is the claim that fluoridation causes cancer. Image credit: Have You Been Lied to About Fluoride? Unfortunately, the scientific literature is full of weak arguments bolstered by statistics. It’s another case of “reader beware.” Do the statistical analyses used really support the argument? And how good was the statistical analysis anyway? Unfortunately, scientific papers with poor or inappropriate statistical analyses often get used to bolster arguments in the political field. Anti-fluoride campaigners do this all the time. I illustrated this for the “fluoridation caused ADHD” argument … Read More

Local anti-fluoride activists tell porkies yet again - Open Parachute

Aug 03, 2017

Well, I suppose that’s not news. A bit surprising, though, because they are claiming the absence of research on fluoridation and IQ – which sort of conflicts with the previous attempts to actually condemn and misrepresent the actual research on fluoridation and IQ. Fluoride Free NZ’s (FFNZ) face book page is claiming: Would you be interested to know that no studies have been conducted on fluoridated water at 0.7ppm to determine whether there is IQ reduction? The National Toxicology Program are currently completing research to fill this gap. You would have thought that they would have done this in the 1950s before starting the fluoridation program wouldn’t you? There have actually been three recent studies from three different countries which have specifically investigated the claim of an effect of fluoridation on IQ – and, unsurprisingly, all threes studies showed there was … Read More

The main stream media is out of touch - Open Parachute

Jul 24, 2017

I find the US mainstream media particularly boring and uninformative these days. It has become embedded in a partisan political campaign and seems to go into a frenzy over every bit of “evidence” or fake news it can garner, invent, or exaggerate in an apparent attempt to reverse the results of last year’s presidential elections. I think many people must be heartily sick of this campaign. I would not be surprised if this is encouraging many to turn to alternative news sources and I suspect this media obsession is encouraging an increasing mistrust of the mainstream media. But it is not just a matter of all the fake news and media lies. This political campaign is diverting media attention away from the things that really concern people. After all, they had their election last year and sensible presidential challenges should be … Read More

June ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Jul 03, 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. Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for June 2017. Ranking is by visit numbers. I … Read More

Fluoridation: Open letter to Democrats for Social Credit - Open Parachute

Jun 15, 2017

 The only political party in New Zealand campaigning against community water fluoridation is the Democrats for Social Credit. It is a minor party, not represented in Parliament and of little influence. However, it does have connections with Fluoride Free NZ, the main anti-fluoride activist group, and its members have imposed anti-fluoridation policies on some groups they belong to. Two examples are Grey Power and the Hamilton Residents & Ratepayers Association – both of which presented anti-fluoride submissions to the recent parliamentary health committee hearings. I wish to promote an open discussion with the Democrats for Social Credit about their anti-fluoridation policy so have sent them this Open Letter. If they are open to a good-faith discussion I am happy to provide space on this blog for an exchange of views on their policy. David Trantor, Health Spokesperson for … Read More

Fluoridation: What’s happening with the New Zealand legislation? - Open Parachute

Jun 12, 2017

The second reading of the fluoridation bill is now on the order paper for the current parliament. Public submissions have been heard, the Health Committee has reported back to the House and the Ministry of Health (MoH) has provided its own responses to submissions. Of course, we don’t know yet what the final Act will be like exactly. But the submissions, the committee report, and the MoH responses give us some idea of likely changes to the original bill. Submissions I have described before how the anti-fluoride activist groups organise to deluge consultation processes with their submissions. This was certainly the case here and their submissions accounted for most of those opposed to the Bill. However, because the legislation is about the decision-making process and not the scientific or ethical validity of social health policies simple opposition to fluoridation was irrelevant  – … Read More

May ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Jun 02, 2017

 Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for May 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 have … Read More