THERE'S AN old saying: "You really don't know what you've got till it's gone !" Well, it's coming true for Canadians who choose to practise preventive health care and use natural remedies and herbs in their personal quest for health.
The giant pharmaceutical companies and the Health Protection Branch seem to have joined forces to erode our freedom of choice in health care.
At a time when our health-care costs are soaring and people are disillusioned with the "fight" against disease, some are looking instead to "preventing" disease. As people are turning toward natural products and remedies to treat and heal their ills and are rebelling against the over-prescribing of dangerous and expensive pharmaceutical drugs, the Health Protection Branch is removing even more herbs and herbal combinations from the market.
Herbs such as goldenseal, gingko biloba, hawthorne, comfrey and senna, which have been used for centuries, are being banned, but drugs with known life-threatening side effects and which have been poorly researched for less than 10 years are available on the market.
In this year alone, 64 herbs are slated for removal. These herbs will be given over to the giant pharmaceutical companies to "study" and will only be available through a doctor's prescription at greatly inflated prices. One problem with this is that most doctors are not educated about herbal medicines.
The most obvious objection is that our freedom of choice in health care is being eroded even more -- and worse, without our knowledge or input.
Furthermore, even allopathic doctors who choose to prescribe homeopathic remedies, and/or EDTA (chelation therapy) are being investigated and threatened with apprehension of their medical licence. In more enlightened countries, such as Europe and Britain, herbal remedies are prescribed as often as pharmaceutical ones. In this country, it is getting to the point where columnists, companies and health food stores are afraid to write about or advertise an effective herbal remedy for fear the HPB will remove it because it "works"!
Our personal right to freedom of choice in health care must be maintained. We must make our feelings known by writing our local MLAs and federal MPs. In B.C., write to the Health Action Network Society at 202--5262 Rumble St., Burnaby, V5J 2B6, for more information on the endangered herbs.
FLUORIDE IS a toxic waste of alummum and other industries. Like arsenic, it is used as insecticide and rat poison. Mining industries can not dispose of all their waste by selling enough of these pesticides, nor can they legally pollute the environment with it without risking costly lawsuits.
Dr. John Miller, chief public health officer of B.C. and a proponent of fluoridation stated, at a recent city council presentation, that the whole issue is a political one. I could not agree more !
Indeed, our government cooperated fully with the mining industries who, many years ago, were able to convince health officials that the dumping of that toxic waste into our drinking water would not only solve its disposal problem, but that it would decrease tooth decay by hardening the teeth. This may or may not prevent a cavity in the course of a lifetime, but, because it makes the teeth and bones more brittle, it will lead to a greater incidence of broken teeth, hip fractures and even bone deformities.
Fluoride is also the cause of mottled teeth. Dr. Miller calls this a mere esthetic problem, when in fact it is one of the first visible signs of fluoride poisoning. Polish pediatricians, using new computerized techniques for analyzing X-rays report that, among a group of 11 to 15-year-olds exhibiting dental fluorosis, abnormal bone changes are present (in the boys only) which are not present in a control group with no dental fluorosis. (John Colquhoun, DDS; Fluoridation and Fractures; New Zealand Medical Journal; Oct. 28, 1992).
If the number of dental cavities appears to have decreased, it is most likely because the health department and the dentists have emphasized oral hygiene for several years. Last fall, dental floss, toothbrushes and mouthwashes were dispensed, free of charge, by the health department at a promotional show sponsored by the Welcome Wagon. The brainwashing has only begun. Watch for more !
Dr. Miller stated that extensive studies have been made by epidemiologists to prove that fluoride does not increase cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other serious conditions. This is hard to believe. I have contacted the province's planning and statistics division (Statistics B.C.) and they were unable to give me the number of cancer deaths in fluoridated cities versus the non-fluoridated ones.
Promoting fluoridation in Kamloops 30 years ago was easy because there were only 3,281 eligible voters. Of these, 1,215 voted for it, and we are now stuck with it until the upcoming referendum. Our health officials started their promotional campaign with the smallest communities, and they continue doing a great deal of propaganda, at the taxpayers' expense, to promote it in bigger ones. Vancouver and Victoria are NOT fluoridated.
Holland discontinued fluoridation after 23 years of experiments involving close to one million subjects. Sweden and Denmark forbade it by law, and West Germany discontinued it after 18 years for legal and health considerations. Many other countries have also rejected it, but the list is too long to mention them all.
Smoking is forbidden in most public places because it infringes on our right to clean air. Fluoridation of our water infringes on our right to pure and safer water.
It is not the first time that terrible mistakes were made by those who are supposed to protect us. Thalidomide, lobotomies, silicone breast implants, formaldehyde, DDT -- and the list is long -- proved to be catastrophic or very detrimental to a great number of people.
Kamloops city council need not hold a referendum on fluoride, but it should suspend the fluoridation of our water supply.
The reason is simple and requires no credentials other than common sense. Dr. John Millar, B.C.'s chief medical health officer, in his presentation to council on Dec. 15, 1992, asked the question, is fluoridation harmful ?
Now, if someone wanted to put something in your coffee, juice, water, food or whatever every day of your life, the answer to that question had better be an unqualified no.
Dr. Millar's answer will come later. First, let's clear up some of the misinformation in Susan Duncan's column (NewsWeekend, March 6.)
Ms. Duncan hopes and assumes that all sides of this issue have been carefully studied by our council. Unfortunately this is not the case.
In a phone call with Conn. Russ Gerard prior to the Kamloops Safe Water Foundation's presentation to council on Oct. 27, 1992, he said we could not change this old boy's mind. This is hardly the type of comment expected of someone who will study both sides of the issue with an open mind.
Coun. Gram Robertson made the comment that he used to play with DDT when he was a kid and he's still fine.
Coun. Shirley Culver, in an article on Dec. 16, 1992, in the Kamloops Daily News, said she also Supports a referendum. Again, comments and actions such as these do not give one confidence that the issue will be studied in an unbiased, democratic and serious manner by this council.
The second comment by Ms. Duncan refers to information we have that "suits" our belief. This same information has led many other industrial countries -- Germany, Austria, Holland, France and the United States -- to sue the American Dental Association over the policy of fluoridation.
It has created enough concern within the American Medical Association for it to go on record as saying "The AMA is not prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by water fluoridation." It caused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Flaherty to remark the evidence is quite convincing that the addition of the same concentration found in Kamloops is extremely deleterious to the human body and a review of the evidence will disclose that there was no convincing evidence to the contrary.
Ms. Duncan asks "Does anyone know someone else who has suffered serious ailment from fluoride?" Why does it have to be a serious ailment ? Do chronic health problems, as noted by physicians around the world, including some Nobel Prize winners, not constitute ailments ?
The statement attributed to me concerning the benefits of fluoridation is untrue. I admit that the best figure the proponents of fluoridation can come up with is 17.7 per cent reduction in various tooth surfaces, which is clinically insignificant.
Unfortunately, other accredited medical researchers, when reviewing the same data come up with no difference in frequency of cavities between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. This figure has never been replicated in other studies of the same size, one of the conditions for proof of a cause-effect relationship.
I do not admit that people drinking fluoridated water sustain fewer cavities, and neither does the Kamloops Safe Water Foundation.
Back to Dr. Millar's answer to the question, is fluoridation harmful ?
According to Ms. Duncan's column, comments by Dr. Loewen, Mr. Christian and various councillors, the answer is no.
Well, folks, that is the wrong answer, according to Dr. Millar. The right answer "we honestly don't know right now. There are studies showing that it may be and it may not be. We don't know."
The medical profession, let alone government bodies, should not be putting a substance into public water supplies if they are not absolutely sure that it is safe.
So, Ms. Duncan, you are right. There is no reason for a plebiscite. Council should take fluoride out of the water now until those, "with credentials," like Dr. Millar, can state that fluoridation will not cause harm.