I See the Future, and It's Steve Blow Using Cornball Expressions to Discuss Fluoridation | Unfair Park | Dallas | Dallas Observer | The Leading Independent News Source in Dallas, Texas


I See the Future, and It's Steve Blow Using Cornball Expressions to Discuss Fluoridation

Normally I don't talk about this, but I can see the future. I know ahead of time what's going to happen. It's better if we don't talk about how. It will just scare you. But I happen to know, for example, what Steve Blow is going to write in his column Thursday in The Dallas Morning News.

What is that you say? You don't believe me? Well, then, I guess you have forced me to show my hand. Tomorrow, on January 15, Mr. Blow will write a column in which he will use multiple folksy neologisms. I can't tell you exactly which ones, you know, like whether it will be golly-wolly-biz-bang or gee-shooter-wolly-dopple, but some kind of neologism will be in there.

What? Not good enough, you say? He always says stuff like that? You say a fourth-grader could have made that prediction? All right. You have pressed me to reveal even more. In tomorrow's column, Blow will use multiple neologisms to attack the anti-fluoride movement in Dallas and to urge the City Council not to vote January 28 to suspend fluoridation of drinking water. How's that for fortune telling?

What? You say anybody could have predicted that, because whenever anybody proposes anything against the grain, Blow always writes something in defense of the grain? Wow. You are really pushing me. All right. There is more. In his column tomorrow Blow will single out a particular well-known organic gardener and paint him as a no-nothing goof-ball alarmist.

Which expert? Oh, come on. I tell you your fortune for free, and all you want is more. OK. Howard Garrett. But that's it. I absolutely cannot and will not tell you how I know this. It's a bunch of scary damn magic, and I know how to do it. That's all you need to know.

On the 28th, Dallas will have chance to become the biggest city in the history of American drinking water fluoridation to call a halt to it. Last year Portland, Oregon, a city about half the size of Dallas, voted against fluoridation again, and now the anti-fluoridation forces are itching to bring Dallas to their side of the issue.

The Dallas City Council has been talking about it for almost a year. Fluoridation opponents have been encouraged by the willingness of a small number of council members here to take them seriously.

See also: In Dallas, an Anti-Fluoride Movement for Once Not Dismissed

That number is still small. The larger wing of the council remains supportive of drinking water fluoridation, led by Mayor Mike Rawlings, who will continue to say fluoridation is supported by science, even though that is less and less true. In a piece here last May we told you about new research, specifically an article in one of the world's leading journals of medical science, The Lancet, raising disturbing questions about the role of fluoride in retarding in-utero and infant brain development.

In particular, the Lancet piece identified fluoride as a neurotoxin, one of only six compounds added since 2006 to a list of 11 known "developmental neurotoxicants." The article presented findings of inhibited brain development associated with fluoride in drinking water in children in China.

That doesn't mean the debate is now closed. What it does mean is that it's wrong -- not true -- to assert broadly that the science supports the safety and benefits of drinking water fluoridation. The science is changing, as good science is wont to do. And it's actually stupid to argue that everybody's dentist since forever says it's OK, so it must be OK. I have great respect for what dentists know, but they know about as much about neurotoxins and brain development as I know about dentistry. They are the wrong experts, otherwise known as non-experts, in this area.

And then let me say something about Garrett here. Howard Garrett, known as the "Dirt Doctor," is a radio host, author and purveyor of commercial organic gardening products who has made his way in the world by espousing organic methods. Big Ag and Big Chem, with back-up from places like Texas A&M, have argued for decades that Garrett is wrong about everything, seeking him out for especially concentrated criticism and derision.

A mere 10 years ago, they were all still saying that organics was complete hooey and Garrett was a kook. Now they're all trying to crowd their way into the organics business, because the world woke up and realized that Garrett was right.

See also: The Dirt Doctor

In fact, let's talk about science generally. When people like the mayor talk about science, they often don't mean actual science. They never refer to articles in juried scientific journals. What they are really talking about -- the place where they get their arguments -- is technology-based industry. That's who didn't like Howard Garrett's organics doctrine, because they all had a huge investment in chemical additives.

Sometimes we have to back away from all the self-seeking flackery and profit-motivated spin that these people churn out and just use our own eyeballs to assess the world around us. Take the whole deal over fracking and earthquakes. Do you ever really think about what the drilling industry is telling us?

They're saying, "Eleven earthquakes in 27 hours is nothing. Nothing. Don't even think about it. So what if we never had earthquakes before, and now we have 11 earthquakes in 27 hours? It's not even an issue."

We have to be smart enough to recognize that these people say what they say because they have a big old fat dog in the hunt. They make their money fracking. They make their money selling agricultural chemicals. They make their money putting chemicals in the drinking water.

We have to back away. Look at it broadly. Consider the fact that fluoride is now classified as a developmental neurotoxin based on evidence that it retards brain development. And then argue it out from there.

Steve Blow writing up a bunch of yee-haw cornpone about how Howard Garrett is a hippie (he's a marine from Texas Tech) is a diversion from what we need to be looking at and thinking about. But again, I can't tell you how I know Blow is going to do that. And, by the way, you will soon be pleasantly surprised by the behavior of a person you thought you knew well, but you will also be disappointed by the behavior of a stranger. I know these things. I just do.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze

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