Science for Sale Puts Our Lives in Jeopardy

I received two email messages this morning that made me wonder at the disregard so many in corporate America must feel for our health and safety. One was from Jamaican expatriate Margaret Lowe of Orlando, and included a video discussing the threat of fluoridation. The other was from Tampa radio show host Ron Bob-Semple, also a Jamaican expatriate, and included a video of an ABC-TV program on tire safety.

The fluoride debate is not new, but the video Margaret sent me is. Back in the ’80s, when I wrote editorials for the Clearwater Sun, I heard from several opponents of water fluoridation, and they were persuasive enough to prompt editorials questioning the wisdom of this practice.

The video that Margaret sent me shows author Christopher Bryson talking about his book “The Fluoride Deception.” He does a lot more than repeat the facts I’d heard at the Sun. He details the questionable research that has led to the widespread acceptance of fluoride (a toxic industrial waste product) in the United States. By his account, the research was sponsored by the industries responsible for fluoride pollution – aluminum and steel, for example – and was skewed in favor of the sponsors.

Ron’s video, an ABC television production, revealed that dangerously old tires were on sale as “new,” and were causing fatal car accidents. The program showed how tread can peel off a tire at high speeds when the elasticity dries out because of age, and how this is happening with disturbing frequency on North American highways. The program also showed a tiny, hidden code on the inside rim of a tire, which indicates when the tire was made. According to the program, tires up to 14 years old were found on the new-tire racks at retail outlets across America.

These threats are just two of the multitude of dangers to which the American public is routinely exposed. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you about the hazardous lead-laden toys and toxic dog food from China or the recent salmonella scare. But what scares me even more than all of the above is the danger we face from prescription drugs.

Just as we may be poisoning our children by adding fluoride to their drinking water in an effort to protect their teeth, we may be making ourselves sick by taking medicines approved by the government and prescribed by our doctors.

I believe that the root cause of this menace is bad science.

The way I was taught, science is the pursuit of factual truth by deduction and testing. If a given series of tests produce the same results under the same conditions every time, that is considered scientific proof. Now, the facts seem to be in dispute, the conditions in doubt, the conclusions skewed.

I read somewhere that some pharmaceutical companies are paying scientists to lend their names to studies in which the scientists have no involvement. Add that to the charges in Dryson’s book, and you have a picture of a scientific community that’s for sale. And that’s a terrifying thought.

One answer to this danger is more government funding for independent research. When scientific research is left up to private interests with an ax to grind, the health and safety of all Americans is placed in jeopardy.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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