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.

Anti-fluoride “expert” finds the real reason oral health has improved – and it’s not fluoride - Open Parachute

Nov 15, 2017

 Anti-fluoride campaigners always promote people like Geoff Pain as “renowned” or “world experts.” They aren’t. Pain has no credible scientific publications on fluoride. No, in fact, he claims lead is responsible for tooth decay and the improvement in oral health is a result of removing airborne lead contamination. And the “proof” is even in the title of his report – “Global Decline in Tooth Decay correlates with reduced Airborne Lead (Pb) but water Fluoridation prevents further progress“ Mind you, the word “correlate” appears only twice in the document – once in the title and once in the abstract. Nowhere else. Scientists usually restrict the use of words like this to results of proper statistical analyses – but he presents no evidence of a correlation anywhere in the document. OK, we shouldn’t expect any better. This document is just another … Read More

October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Nov 02, 2017

Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for October 2017. Of course, Statcounter has decided to change their format and this has caused a headache this month. Every time this happens it screws up the existing methods for automatically downloading the statistics. I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally if the format of the blog is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing please check this out. Send me the URL for your site meter and I can correct the information in the database. 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   … Read More

New fluoride debate falters - Open Parachute

Oct 26, 2017

What is it with these anti-fluoride campaigners – and particularly their leaders? They make a song and dance about having “science on their side.” They will heavily promote the latest research and papers if they can argue that they confirm their bias. And they will email politicians or make submissions to local bodies making scientific claims – often with citations and long lists of references. But we simply can not get them to enter into a good faith scientific discussion of the sort I suggested in Do we need a new fluoride debate? Characters debate the “fluoride conspiracy” in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove. I thought this was going to happen. Bill Osmunson, the current Director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), had agreed and even produced an initial article for posting. But he has now pulled out and asked me not to post his article. Apparently, … Read More

Flaw and porkie in anti-fluoride report claiming a flaw in Canadian study - Open Parachute

Oct 19, 2017

 Anti-fluoride campaigners have launched another attack on a Canadian fluoridation cessation study. They claim it is flawed – but there is a huge flaw in their own critique. Anti-fluoride group, Fluoride Action Network, ironically stamps their own critique of the Calgary fluoridation cessation study as “debunked.” I discussed their original attack in February last year (see Anti-fluoridationist’s flawed attacks on Calgary study). But this new attack is based on a published critique of the original study. I think that is good progress – the anti-fluoride campaigners have made a detailed critique and published it in the journal which published the original paper. The original authors have then responded. This is how things should be done.   Timeline For those of you with the interest and time who want to go into the details, the original study was published in: McLaren L, Patterson S, … Read More

Do we need a new fluoride debate? - Open Parachute

Oct 12, 2017

I think we do. Something like the good faith scientific exchange I had with Paul Connett four years ago (see Connett & Perrott, 2014 – The Fluoride Debate). After all, there have been a number of important scientific reports since then. They may have been thrashed out (and thrash is sometimes the operative word) in one of the “anti-fluoride” or “pro-fluoride” internet silos but there has yet to be a proper discussion. I have been trying to get one going for a while. Paul Connett is no longer interested and everyone else on the “anti-fluoride” side seems unwilling. However, Bill Osmunson who recently replaced Paul Connett as director of the Fluoride Action Network has been contributing to the discussion on several of the posts here. He seems to be the obvious choice for a discussion partner and I  asked him … Read More

September ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Oct 01, 2017

 Here are the rankings of New Zealand blogs with publicly available statistics for September 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

Endemic fluorosis and its health effects - Open Parachute

Sep 28, 2017

The public debate in New Zealand might convince the casual reader that all the science related to fluoride revolves around tooth decay and IQ. But that is certainly not the case on a world scale. The World Health Organisation gives guidelines for the concentration of fluoride in drinking water recommending it should be in the range 0.5 – 1.5 mg/L. OK, above 0.5 mg/L because of the positive effect it has on oral health, in reducing dental decay. That interests us in New Zealand because our drinking water is more likely to be deficient in fluoride. But on the world scale, many people are far more interest in the higher limit – or at least in attempting to reduce their drinking water fluoride concentration to below this limit. This is because large areas of the world suffer from the health effects of … Read More

Maternal urinary fluoride/IQ study – an update - Open Parachute

Sep 24, 2017

 The maternal urinary fluoride/IQ study  (Bashash et al., 2017) continues to get attention – but mainly from anti-fluoride organisations. The scientific community will evaluate the published report after giving it due consideration and there have already been criticisms. But anti-fluoride campaigners consider it the best thing since sliced bread. The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) describes it as “a cannon shot across the bow of the 80 year old practice of artificial fluoridation” and Fluoride Free NZ insist that it “must spell an end to fluoridation in New Zealand.” We expect confirmation bias from the anti-fluoride organisations. But the misrepresentations in the propaganda from these organisations are of more concern because they are blatantly meant to scaremonger. Misrepresentation by anti-fluoride organisations These people have worked hard to stress the respectability of the authors of the Bashash et al., (2017) … Read More

Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring - Open Parachute

Sep 22, 2017

What’s the story about this new IQ-fluoride study? The one that claims fluoride intake by pregnant women could endanger their children’s IQ? Whatever the truth, it has certainly got the anti-fluoride activists going. Mary O’Brien Byrne, leader of the local anti-fluoride group is even suggesting people check if their mothers lived in fluoridated areas. And they are busy promoting the newspaper articles on this. For example Fluoride exposure in utero linked to lower IQ in kids, study says,  Children’s IQ could be lowered by mothers drinking tap water while pregnant, and Higher levels of fluoride in urine linked to lower IQ scores in children. Best not rely on those media reports, though – you know how unreliable they can be. The original paper is available – this is the citation: Bashash, M., Thomas, D., Hu, H., Martinez-mier, E. A., Sanchez, B. N., … Read More

Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand - Open Parachute

Sep 20, 2017

A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever notice how words ending with “-osis” sound a bit scary?  That’s because “-osis” is a suffix (from the Greek) commonly used to describe disorders or abnormal states. Tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis…no fun. Those are serious. Dental fluorosis is one of those things that sounds scarier than it actually is… at least if you live in a country like the good old U.S. of A., where public health and environmental protection agencies and organizations have made the scary kind of dental fluorosis (severe dental fluorosis) exceedingly rare. Dental fluorosis is a little like blood pressure.  When it’s low, you’re good – in fact, mild dental fluorosis can protect your teeth from cavities.  Moderate dental … Read More