With a Grain of Salt (Because You Can’t Always Believe Everything You Hear or Read)

I always wonder if the ‘experts’ who appear on the morning shows (The Today Show; Good Morning America; CBS Morning Show) have any idea that they frequently sound stupid to perhaps half the people who are listening to them.
Consider the other morning, for example. According to one ‘expert,’ dentists all over the country are extremely worried because people are drinking so much bottled water, and, therefore, are not getting enough fluoride from drinking tap water.
“It is easy to drink fluoridated tap water,” the expert said. “Everyone can just turn on their tap and drink fluoridated water. “
What about those people who drink well water and are not hooked into a municipal water system that fluoridates the water supply?
I don’t know about people who live out in the country in other parts of the United States, but around here in Wisconsin, we do not install systems to fluoridate our well water. Sometimes people will give fluoride tablets to their children to prevent tooth decay, and the school districts will also give fluoride tablets to rural children, but from what I’ve read, fluoride tablets might not be such a good idea, either. I have read that fluoride can depress thyroid activity and that doctors used fluoride up until the 1950s to treat thyroid conditions.
Whether the claims about the dangers of fluoride are true or not, I cannot say for certain because I am not a research scientist who has investigated fluoride. What I can say for certain is that if you do a Google search for “fluoride” and “thyroid” more than 300,000 references come up. And when you start to read through the web page descriptions, you see that many of the websites are questioning the safety and efficacy of using fluoride either by tablet or in the drinking water.
In regard to the issue of drinking tap water for the fluoride, the expert on television went on to say that many people are afraid to drink their tap water because of contaminants.
Isn’t that why municipalities go to great pains to test their water? To make that sure the water is free from contaminants? Isn’t that why there are so many regulations concerning the testing done on municipal water to make sure that it is safe to drink? Isn’t that why municipal water systems have filters and other devices and procedures to make sure the contaminants are removed?
Be that as it may, the expert hastened to assure everyone that the bottled water companies were coming to the rescue and would soon sell BOTTLED WATER THAT CONTAINS FLUORIDE.
Now we come to the real crux of the matter.
It isn’t that dentists fear for our teeth and general dental health because so many people drink unfluoridated bottled water.
It isn’t that municipal water systems contain contaminants.
It’s that the bottled water companies want to create a market to sell more bottled water.
So now I wonder, how long did it take the publicist (hired by the bottled water companies, of course) to talk the producers of the morning news show into airing the segment?
It all makes me rather sick to my stomach.No one cares about the health of our teeth. It’s just that the bottled water companies want to sell more bottled water.
Then again, it serves as an excellent reminder.
When I see or hear something on television, or read about it in a newspaper or magazine, I must always ask myself — whose agenda is this?
And once I figure out who stands to profit by a certain train of thought or a certain opinion or a certain piece of “news” — I am just that much closer to the truth.
© LeAnn R. Ralph 2006

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