Refuting misleading information
We are writing as pediatricians and concerned citizens of the Flathead Valley. On March 4, a letter to the editor written by Catherine Haug of Bigfork attempted to provide “scientific” opposition to the fluoridation of public water used to prevent dental cavities in children. Her letter unfortunately provides unsubstantiated and misleading claims about a well-established public health intervention. Ms. Haug lists 16 alleged adverse effects of fluoridated water but provides no credible sources to corroborate these claims. In fact, not one of her claimed side effects is supported by legitimate science.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association all agree that the benefits of fluoridating water supplies far outweigh the very modest risks, which amount to infrequent occurrence of tooth discoloration from exposure to fluoride (a condition known as fluorosis) and importantly do not include any of the alleged adverse effects listed by Ms. Haug in her letter.
To address this issue specifically, a clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics states “there have been many unsubstantiated or disproven claims that fluoride leads to kidney disease, bone cancer, and compromised IQ. More than 3,000 studies or research papers have been published on the subject of fluoride or fluoridation. Few topics have been as thoroughly researched, and the overwhelming weight of the evidence — in addition to 68 years of experience — supports the safety and effectiveness of this public health practice.”
With a combined experience of over 29 years caring for children, we hold the health of the youngsters in our community in the highest regard. We and our colleagues, including fellow pediatricians, pediatric specialists and pediatric dentists, feel that the public should have accurate health information supported by research and reputable sources.
Refuting misleading information about an important public health intervention is our responsibility as health care providers and as members of the community.
—Dr. Margaret Satchell and Dr. John Cole, Kalispell
I just read an Montana Department of Transportation public comment advisory in the newspaper titled “Dern & Springcreek.” At first glance the reader would assume this is an improvement to some rural road that won’t concern most residents of the area.
It is only when scrutinizing the accompanying map that one can see this is in fact for a roundabout in the middle of U.S. 2, west of Kalispell. U.S. 2 is never mentioned in the lengthy commentary of the piece, which I am sure was the intention. If the MDT really wanted public comment, they would have accurately titled the piece “ROUNDABOUT PROPOSED ON HIGHWAY 2.”
So for anyone who missed the ad, the public comment is being taken Wednesday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell.
—Diane Etter, Kalispell
Form and content
“Form and Content” are, in my opinion, essential elements to have in mind as we navigate the rather turbulent and troubled political waters these next 21 months before the general election on Nov. 3, 2020.
Form is things like party affiliation, gender, ethnicity, behavior, physical appearance, age, voice, use of language, specific policy actions. Content is things like character, ethics, attitudes, treatment of others, honesty, motivations for policy decisions.
America has the great opportunity in this election cycle to put “content” front-and-center in listening, evaluating and ultimately voting. There are two obvious facts about America. Number one: Americans generally lean heavily in favor of “content” in choosing a president. Number two: In order for No. 1 to operate effectively, the bulk of eligible voters must vote.
Form or content; What a choice; Let’s speak for content; With America’s voice.
—Bob McClellan, Polson
Tell it all
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— Mike Donohue, Kalispell
A plant-based diet and Christianity
March 6 marked the beginning of Lent, the period before Easter when devout Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.
The call to abstain from eating animals is as traditional as Genesis 1:29, yet as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham. Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen White, all followed the divine call. Pope Francis has been offered a one million dollars donation to a charity of his choice to go vegan for Lent.
A plant-based diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented routine mutilation, deprivation, and beating of animals on factory farms.
Today’s supermarkets offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams, as well as traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegan” in our favorite search engine provides lots of suitable products, recipes, and transition tips.
— Kerry Brack, Kalispell