Escaping the Cult of Consumerism

Shopping for Freedom: Escaping the Cult of Consumerism

United Natures Media (2019)

Film Review

Shopping for Freedom is best described as an illustrated podcast about the legacy of Edward Bernays, the father of the public relations industry. It’s intended to remind us of the subtle way public relations and propaganda influence our culture to the point we only imagine we have free choice in the items we purchase.

The film has no background narrative. The sound track is a casual conversation between the hosts of Ashes Ashes, a podcast about the “end of the world.” Meanwhile we are bombarded with priceless archival footage of early TV ads and the propaganda news reels shown in schools and movie theaters in the fifties and sixties.

The footage begins with the propaganda films Bernays produced in the early fifties to win popular support for the CIA-backed coup to overthrow Guatemala’s elected government – at the behest of United Fruit Company (to protect its monopoly control of the banana industry)

The film goes on to describe Bernays’ work under Woodrow Wilson promoting US entry into World War I, and the new science of psychological persuasion as described in the former’s 1928 book Propaganda.

The hosts go on to give illustrated examples of Bernays’ successful campaigns – to increase smoking among women and consumption of nutritionless breakfast cereals and to shame working class women who got married without diamond engagement rings or wore the same dress more than once a week.*

Intriguingly the filmmakers also insert several one second “subliminal” messages inserted into the video, which the hosts never comment on. I saw “You are enough” flashed twice, three one-second Coke ads, and “eco-capitalism” flashed once.

The film concludes by recommending viewers question all their choices. Most people claim not to be influenced by advertising. In most cases, however, many of us are unaware of habits (such as buying diamond engagement rings) the PR industry has elevated into cultural norms. In all their decisions, people need to ask themselves, “Is someone trying to sell me something?”


*Bernays was also hired by ALCOA in the mid-forties to run a campaign to dispose of toxic fluoride waste by persuading municipalities to add it to their public water systems. See Edward Bernays: Father of Water Fluoridation

 

 

Fluoridegate

Fluoridegate: An American Tragedy

Directed by Dr David Kennedy DDS (2012)

Film Review

Fluoridegate is about the blatant corruption in Washington DC, particularly the EPA, that allows the continued poisoning of local water supplies with the industrial toxin hydrofluorosilic acid (aka “fluoride”).

The last decade has produced an abundance of peer reviewed research establishing unequivocally that chronic exposure to fluoridated water causes osteoporosis, decreased IQ and other neurodevelopmental problems, hypothyroidism, birth defects, cancer and dental and skeletal fluorosis. All the pertinent federal agencies (EPA, FDA, CDC) acknowledge that 1) using fluoridated water in kidney dialysis can be lethal and 2) using fluoridated water to dilute formula causes serious fluoride toxicity in infants. Yet there is absolutely no effort to warn the public of these dangers.

The documentary highlights the case of Dr William Marcus, the former chief toxicologist at the EPA’s Office of Drinking Water. In 1994, Marcus was fired after a colleague leaked one of his reports to the media identifying fluoride as a probable carcinogen. In the wrongful dismissal suit Marcus filed, he established that the EPA had engaged in perjury, forgery and witness tampering in their efforts to destroy his career and reputation. The court rescinded the dismissal and awarded him back pay, damages and all legal fees.

Last year the US Department of Health and Human Services reduced their maximum recommended fluoride level for drinking water from 1.2 parts per million to 0.7 parts per million. This despite volumes of research indicating there is no safe level of chronic fluoride exposure – just as there is no safe level of lead or mercury exposure.

The primary source of fluoride used in public drinking water is hydrofluorosilic acid, a toxic byproduct of the fertilizer industry. Prior to the decision to add “fluoride” to drinking water in the 1950s, exposure of this extremely toxic chemical was a major headache for car makers and the aluminum and chemical industry. For more background on the conspiracy Alcoa, Dupont, GM and propaganda specialist Edward Bernays cooked up to dump it in our water (by telling us it was good for our teeth) see Ending Water Fluoridation: One We Can Win

Nearly all of Europe, except for the UK, has banned the use of fluoride in drinking water. In 2011, I and 60 other members of Fluoride Free New Plymouth successfully campaigned to have fluoride removed from our water.

Residents of over 100 US communities have successfully ended water fluoridation. For a full list see link.

Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery – none but ourselves can free our minds” – Bob Marley Redemption Song

PsyWar: the Real Battlefield is the Mind

Directed by Scott Noble (2010)

Film Review

PsyWar is about the fundamental role of propaganda in a political system that pretends to guarantee  “democracy” in a society that simultaneously promotes extreme wealth inequality.

It begins with an examination of the vital role propaganda plays in war time, with a special focus on the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and World War I. It then explores the morphing of the World War I propaganda machine into the modern public relations industry.

The film moves on to the concept of “polyarchy,” which the filmmakers maintain is the most accurate description of government in the industrial north. In a polyarchy, power is closely guarded by a wealthy elite and the population remains passive except for periodic elections in which they vote for the elites of their choice. When a tiny minority controls nearly all the wealth, “democratic” elections are only possible if the majority is systematically controlled with psychological propaganda.

Big breakthroughs in transportation and communication technology at the end of the 19th century caused a major crisis for polyarchy, as they fed the rise of popular resistance movements (eg the populist and progressive movement, International Workers of the World and militant labor movements). The response to this crisis was the public relations industry.

The Rendon Group and Perception Management

The documentary introduces us to the Rendon Group, the private “perception management” company the Bush administration paid to manage propaganda leading up to the US invasion of Iraq. Immediately after 911, the CIA paid the Rendon Group $23 million to generate anti-Iraq propaganda. They also paid them to manage “public perception” during the US bombing of Afghanistan.

The Dirty Secret Behind the US Constitution

PsyWar devotes nearly 15 minutes to the secret framing of the US Constitution by a group of rich landholders and merchants to overturn the Articles of Confederation and protect their wealth from the “tyranny of the majority.” It contrasts the system of direct democracy of the Iroquois Federation (on which the Articles of Confederation were based), where all members of society (including women) had direct input into policy decisions.

The Crisis of Capitalism

According to PsyWar the modern public relations machine performs two vital functions in maintaining the stability of our current capitalist system. The first addresses chronic overproduction. One of the main flaws of capitalism is that once a population’s basic needs are met, the need for continuing production ceases. Our ruling elite could have addressed overproduction by reducing work hours and increasing wages (as they have recently done in Sweden*), but this would have hurt profits. Instead, under the guidance of Edward Bernays (known as the father of public relations) they ramped up consumption by bombarding the masses with pro-consumption propaganda deliberately playing on their psychological insecurities.

The second major role played by modern public relations is to “manufacture consent” of the governed to their overall powerlessness and passivity. Manufacturing consent is a term coined by journalist (and former government intelligence/propaganda agent) Walter Lippmann. It was Lippman’s view that the majority of Americans are meddlesome outsiders who are totally incompetent to govern themselves.


*In October, Sweden announced they were moving to a six-hour work day to improve productivity and improve work-life balance Sweden introduces 6 hour work day

The Science of Thought Control

bernays

The Century of the Self is a four-part BBC documentary that delves deeply into the life and work of Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays. Bernays was the first to perfect the science of thought control. In the political sphere, he referred to mass psychological manipulation as “engineering consent.” When he used propaganda and psychological manipulation to sell corporate products, he called it “public relations.” Parts 1 and 2 focus on the Freudian theories underpinning the early public relations movement.

The Century of the Self

BBC Documentary (2005)

Film Review

Part 1 (Happiness Machines) and Part 2 (Engineering of Consent)

The Transformation from Citizen to Consumer

The twentieth century is frequently referred to as the selfish century. This documentary lays the blame for this at the feet of Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays.

Prior to World War I politicians and businesses used facts and information to win votes or to persuade people to buy their products. When Woodrow Wilson hired him to run his Committee for Public Information to produce pro-World War I propaganda, Bernays incorporated Sigmund Freud’s theory that human behavior was based on unconscious instinctual drives. By appealing to these unconscious and irrational feelings, he succeeded in selling World War I to a profoundly isolationist American public

 As well as his pivotal role in engineering corporate and government propaganda, Bernays was also responsible for popularizing Sigmund Freud’s work by emphasizing its sexual content.

 The Shift from a Needs to a Desire Based Culture

Curious whether similar techniques would also work in peace time, Bernays hired himself out to corporations to help them improve their sale of consumer products. His goal was to shift US society from a needs culture, where people only bought what they needed, to a desire culture, where they purchased products to make them feel better. Aware that the word propaganda had an extremely negative connotation, Bernays coined the term “public relations.”

Bernay’s stunning success gave birth to 1920s “consumptionism” and was largely responsible for the economic bubble that resulted in the 1929 crash. Already by 1927, social critics were concerned that Americans were no longer citizens but consumers. Confident of their ability to engineer consumer demand, banks funded national expansion of department store chains and hired Bernays to persuade ordinary people to borrow money to buy shares in the stock market.

Driven to record levels by borrowed money, the stock market collapsed.

During the Great Depression, Bernays shifted gears to focus more on influencing public political views. Neither Freud nor Bernays believed in the equality of man. Frightened by the rise of fascism in Europe, both believed that democracy was a fundamentally unsafe form of government (due to human beings’ dangerous unconscious drives).

Both believed that people must be controlled – that mass democracy could only work if popular consent was engineered. Bernays was also convinced that the best way to control people in a mass democracy was to render them passive consumers – by triggering a continuous irrational desire to consume and satisfying it with consumer goods.

Roosevelt Tries to Rein in Business

Unlike Freud and Bernays, Franklin Roosevelt believed that people were capable of knowing what they wanted and relied on the new science of public opinion polling (pioneered by George Gallup) to ascertain what people were thinking. His response to the Great Depression was to grant himself extensive executive power and subject business to central economic planning, which they hated.

In 1936, the National Association of Manufacturers hired Bernays to initiate an ideological campaign against the New Deal (and the rise of unionism as Alex Carey mentions in Taking the Risk Out of Democracy.

When World War II ended, the CIA hired Bernays to advise them on how to control the “irrational aggression” of the masses. In his CIA role, Bernays devised a campaign for the Eisenhower administration to convince the American public they were under imminent threat from Soviet Communism.

As part of this campaign, Bernays mobilized public and congressional support for the 1954 coup against Guatemala’s democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz. Bernays also worked for the United Fruit Company, which was concerned about Arbenz’s plans for land reform, i.e. breaking up their extensive Guatemalan banana plantations.

The First Focus Groups

Meanwhile the public relations industry hired psychoanalysts to set up focus groups to use advertising more effectively to improve consumer demand for corporate products. These early focus groups employed psychoanalytic techniques to help advertisers improve sales by secretly appealing to unconscious needs and insecurities.

photo credit: Saint Iscariot via photopin cc

Originally posted in Veterans Today

Corporate Brainwashing and Thought Control

 

taking the risk

This is the first in a series of posts about “engineering consent,” a form of brainwashing and thought control perfected in the 20th century. Its purpose is to allow the elites who control western democracies to maintain political power without resorting to brute force.


Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty

By Alex Carey (1995 University of New South Wales Press)

Book Review

Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty is a collection of essays written by Australian psychologist Alex Carey prior to his death in 1988. The essays were posthumously edited and assembled into a book by Andrew Lohey. Carey’s book details the 100 year history of the deliberate manipulation of popular consciousness by the corporate elite.

According to Carey, the main purpose of corporate social engineering is to persuade the voting public to serve the interests of the privileged class, rather than their own working class needs. This type of propaganda relies heavily on emotionally-laden symbols and a black and white view of society in which people and issues are either good or evil. Owing to virtually unlimited corporate financing, it’s spectacularly effective. Conservative regimes that enacted reactionary social policy (in the US) between 1919-1929, 1946-1956, and 1976-2014 didn’t just happen – they were deliberately engineered by the business lobby and corporate propagandists.

Women and Blacks Win Vote

In the view of the US business elite, a dedicated program of social engineering became essential at the beginning of the 20th century when women and northern blacks acquired the right to vote. In 1880, only 10-15% of the US population was eligible to vote. By 1920, this percentage had increased to 40-50%. The corporate elite couldn’t take the risk that this large crop of new voters would elect candidates keen on regulating corporate activities that posed a threat to public health and welfare.

Edward Bernays, known as the father of public relations, played an instrumental role in advancing the art and science of corporate propaganda. During World War I, he assisted Woodrow Wilson, who ran as an antiwar president, in convincing a fiercely antiwar and isolationist American public to support US intervention in the war between Britain and Germany.

Peacetime Propaganda

After World War I, Bernays worked for the National Association of Manufacturers and other corporate groups with a primary agenda of turning public opinion against unions, immigrants and the corporate regulation enacted by President Teddy Roosevelt between 1901 and 1912.

By combining a vast media campaign with concerted employee indoctrination, Bernays created a wave of anti-union and anti-immigrant hysteria. By convincing Americans that corporate regulation was akin to Bolshevism. In this way, he successfully ushered in the first (1919-1921) of three periods of corporate rule. While post-war Europe enjoyed a wave of radical liberalism resulting in the rise of democratic socialism, the US was caught in the grips of a reactionary agenda that would set the stage for the repressive Red Scare and Palmer Raids (in which politically active immigrants were rounded up and deported).

Labor Paralysis, Korea and Vietnam

The other two periods in which a corporate agenda dominated US domestic and foreign policy occurred between 1946-1950 and 1976-80. Between 1929 and 1946, the Great Depression and World War II dramatically curtailed the effectiveness of corporate propaganda. In the late forties, corporate interest groups roared back with a vengeance. The ideological agenda they broadcast on radio and in print media equated free enterprise with freedom and democracy, patriotism with social harmony and the New Deal with creeping socialism. Liberals who supported corporate regulation were portrayed as communist sympathizers. During this period, the Chamber of Commerce launched the first major publicity campaign warning that communists had infiltrated government, universities and other major institutions.

Thanks to these propaganda efforts, in Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since 1928. In 1947 they enacted the Taft Hartley Act (1947), virtually paralyzing American unions. By blanketing the media with their reactionary agenda, pro-corporate ideologues also laid the ground work for the second Red Scare, aka the McCarthy Era from 1950-1956.

Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Committee on Unamerican Activities had an even more destructive effect on foreign policy than it did on civil liberties. In addition to pressuring Truman to pursue an unwinnable war in Korea, McCarthy also forced Eisenhower to reverse US policy on Vietnam and China. Under Truman, the US State Department had opposed the French return to Vietnam (i.e. they supported Vietnamese independence). They had also sought to mediate (in 1945) between Mao Tsai Tung and Chiang Kai Shek in the Chinese civil war.

After McCarthy succeeded in stripping the State Department of more than 500 personnel with Asian expertise, the ultraconservative, CIA-linked John Foster Dulles succeeded in throwing US support behind the incompetent and corrupt Chiang Kai Shek and transforming French opposition to Vietnamese independence into a battle to prevent world Communist domination.

The Rise of Pro-Corporate Neocons

The anti-Vietnam War, Nixon’s resignation and public anger over against CIA domestic spying led to a strong anti-business backlash during the late sixties and early seventies. Corporate ideologues fought back with the launch of “treetop” propaganda efforts. As opposed to grassroots media-based propaganda, treetop propaganda focuses on recruiting rich conservatives to fund conservative think tanks to promote conservative “economic education” and lobby Congress to defeat consumer protection and labor rights legislation.

The American Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) (neoconservative think tank founded in 1970), the Heritage Foundation (founded in 1973) and would be instrumental in promoting “economic” ideological beliefs that full employment and clean air and water initiatives are detrimental to the economy because they hurt business. These think tanks also hammered Congress and universities with the notion that the US would collapse under a socialist dictatorship unless corporate regulations were rolled back.

Their success in bombarding all sectors of society with these reactionary ideas would pave the way for Ronald Reagan’s election and the rollback of corporate regulation and social safety net programs that occurred during his administration.

During the early 1970s, these conservative think tanks began exporting these reactionary belief systems to British and Australian corporate interest groups. In Britain, American-inspired treetop and grassroots pro-corporate propaganda would lead to Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979.

***

Below the 1993 documentary based on Noam Chomsky’s book Manufacturing Consent. The title is based on a term coined by Bernays: “engineering consent.” Carey had studied with Chomsky at MIT.

Originally posted at Veterans Today

Banned in the USA: the Film You Didn’t See

Film Review

The War You Don’t See

Produced and directed by John Pilger

Americans now have the opportunity of seeing Australian John Pilger’s critically acclaimed The War You Don’t See on YouTube. The groundbreaking documentary was effectively banned in the US when Patrick Lannan, who funds the “liberal” Lannon Foundation, canceled the American premier (and all Pilger’s public appearances) in June 2010. Pilger provides the full background of this blatant act of censorship at his website. After watching the film, I believe its strong support of Julian Assange (who the US Department of Justice is attempting to prosecute) is the most likely reason it wasn’t shown in American theaters.

Pilger’s documentary centers around the clear propaganda role both the British and US press played in cheerleading the US/British invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It includes a series of interviews in which Pilger confronts British and American journalists (including Dan Rather) and news executives regarding their failure to give air time to weapons inspectors and military/intelligence analysts who were publicly challenging the justification for these invasions. The Australian filmmaker focuses heavily on the fabricated evidence (Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and links to 9-11) that was used to convince American and British lawmakers to go along with an illegal attack on a defenceless nation (Iraq).

Making News Executives Squirm

Pilger also confronts the British news executives (from the BBC and ITV) for reporting — unchallenged — Israeli propagandist Mark Regev regarding the May 2010 Israeli attack (in international waters) of the international peace flotilla and murder of nine Turkish peace activists (including six who were executed in the back of the head at point blank range).

Although none of the news makers offer a satisfactory explanation for their actions, British news executives show obvious embarrassment when Pilger forces them to admit they knew about opposing views and failed to offer them equal air time. In my view, the main value of the film is reminding us how essential it is to hold journalists to account for their lack of objectivity. Too many activists (myself included) have allowed ourselves to become too cynical about the mainstream media to hold individual reporters and their editors and managers accountable when they function as government propagandists instead of journalists.

The War You Don’t See was released in Britain in December 2010, in the context of a Parliamentary investigation into the Blair government’s use of manufactured intelligence to ensnare the UK into a disastrous ten year foreign war. Government/corporate censorship is far more efficient in the US, and the odds of a similar Congressional investigation occurring in the US seem extremely low.

Edward Bernays: the Public is the Enemy

The film begins with a thumbnail history of modern war propaganda, which Pilger traces back to Edward Bernays, the father of public relations. Bernays, who began his career by helping Woodrow Wilson to “sell” World War I to the American people, talks in his famous book Propaganda about the public being the “enemy” which must be “countered.”

Independent Journalism is Hazardous to Your Health

The most powerful segment features the Wikileaks gunship video released in April 2010, followed by Pilger’s interview with a Pentagon spokesperson regarding this sadistic 2007 attack on unarmed Iraqi civilians. This is followed by excerpts of a public presentation by a GI on the ground at the time of assault, who was denied permission to medically evacuate two children injured in the attack.

The documentary also focuses heavily on the Pentagon’s deliberate use of “embedded” journalists to report the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the extreme threat (often from American forces) faced by independent, non-embedded journalists. According to Pilger, a record 240 independent journalists were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Palestine, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has killed ten independent journalists since 1992. The War You Don’t See includes footage of a recent IDF attack on a Palestinian cameraman, who miraculously survived, despite losing both legs.

Pilger goes on to talk about the deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera headquarters in Kabul and Baghdad, mainly because the Arab network was the only outlet reporting on civilian atrocities. This section features excellent Al Jazeera footage of home invasions of two civilian families — in one case by British and the other by American troops — who were brutally terrorized and subjected to torture tactics.

The Interview that Got the Film Banned

The film concludes with a brief interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who discusses the increasing secrecy and failure of democratic control over the military industrial intelligence complex. Assange presents his view that this complex consists of a network of thousands of players (government employees and contractors and defense lobbyists) who make major policy decisions in their own self-interest with virtually no government oversight.

Pilger and Assange also discuss the aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers by Obama, who has the worst record of First Amendment violations of any president. They also discuss the positive implications of the willingness of military and intelligence insiders to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents. It shows clear dissent in the ranks about the blatant criminality that motivates US foreign policy decisions.

Ending Water Fluoridation: One We Can Win*

fluoride deception

The Fluoride Deception

By Christopher Bryson (2004 Seven Stories Press)

Free download from Sheep pee!

Book Review

In Fluoride Deception, BBC journalist Christopher Bryson describes how the decision to deliberately dose US municipal water supplies with a potent industrial toxin was basically a corporate scam dreamed up by Alcoa, GM and Dupont, with the help of Edward Bernays, the infamous father of the public relations industry. Their cynical goal was to stem a tide of lawsuits related to death and injuries from toxic fluoride pollution – by convincing the public that fluoride is good for you.

Fluoride is an extremely toxic pollutant produced by aluminum smelting. GM and Dupont became involved with the scheme because GM held the patent on fluoride-based Freon and Dupon manufactured it. Freon was a common refrigerant which the EPA banned in 2010.

According to Bryson, the FDA first raised the alarm about fluoride toxicity in the early thirties, resulting in scores of lawsuits for aluminum workers crippled and killed from fluoride poisoning and farmers near aluminum plants, whose livestock were killed due to fluoride poisoning.

Public Relations: Cheaper than Pollution Controls

Rather than encouraging Alcoa to institute pollution controls, an Alcoa researcher named Francis Frary decided a better approach was to alter public perception of fluoride. He approached Mellon Institute researcher Gerald Cox. In 1937, Cox performed a single study in rats (who rarely suffer tooth decay to begin with) in 1937 and “proved” fluoride strengthened their teeth.

Frary and Cox were soon joined in their little scheme by Charles Kettering’s GM’s research director and Freon magnate, who approached the American Dental Association, began funding many of their activities. He also got himself appointed to their three member Advisory Committee on Research in Dental Caries. Meanwhile GM and Dupont hired scientist Robert Kehoe to perform safety studies on both fluoride and tetra ethyl lead, a gasoline additive co-manufactured by the two companies. Unsurprisingly, Kehoe declared both leaded gasoline and fluoride safe at “low levels.”

Enter the Father of Public Relations

The most prominent villain in this sordid history was Edwards Bernays, the father of public relations industry. At the beginning, there was massive public opposition to water fluoridation, led mainly by doctors who were well aware of fluoride’s toxicity. Bernays’ answer was to enlist even more prominent doctors to declare it safe, starting with prominent baby doctor Benjamin Spock.

The common perception of a potent toxin such as fluoride being safe and good for teeth is based on decades of corporations paying researchers to produce the scientific results they want – and burying research and firing and blacklisting scientists whose studies show otherwise.

Bryson details numerous deliberate smear campaigns against extremely reputable doctors and scientists who dared to publish research regarding the adverse effects of water fluoridation:

  • Dr. George Waldbott a world famous doctor who first identified penicillin allergy and the link between smoking and emphysema. Waldbott published numerous double blind studies in the fifties showing that fluoride is harmful to human health. The result was a massive corporate smear campaign that destroyed his reputation by marginalizing and demonizing him.
  • Dr William Marcus – a senior EPA toxicologist in the Office of Water, fired in 1992 for attempting to publicize studies showing that  fluoride causes bone and liver cancer. In 1994 Marcus won lawsuit against the federal government and was reinstated. While the EPA still refuses to ban water fluoridation, the unions representing EPA scientists have called for a moratorium.
  • Dr Phyllis Mullinix – research toxicologist hired by Forsyth Dental Institute to study the effect of fluoride on the brain. Mullinex was first fired and then blacklisted in the mid-nineties when she published research showing fluoride produces memory and behavior problems in children.

Where Fluoride Comes From

Although fluoride is added to municipal water supplies as a “drug” – that allegedly improves dental health – it has never been approved by the FDA. In fact most communities source their fluoride from the phosphate fertilizer industry, as hydrofluorosilicic acid. This is an extremely toxic, hazardous waste, and the EPA requires phosphate manufacturers to capture it via “wet scrubbers” in their chimneys (to prevent toxic fluoride gas from being released into the air). The resulting liquid is then loaded, unpurified, into tanker trucks and sold to cities to be added to their public water supply. In addition to fluoride, it also contains a number of heavy metals and radionucleotides (radioactive elements – mainly uranium-238, uranium-234, thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222, lead-210, and polonium-210).

*2014 update

In 2003 the EPA commissioned the National Research Council (part of the National Academy of Sciences) to examine all the peer reviewed research to make a determination whether an upper limit of 8 mg of fluoride (eight glasses of water with a fluoride concentration of 4 mg/liter) was still within the margin of safety. In 2006 the NRC came back with the recommendation that 8 mg (4 mg/liter) was definitely too high – as many Americans were experiencing symptoms of chronic fluoride poisoning at this dose.

In addition to lower IQ in children, the NRC found that water flouridation was contributing to an epidemic of hypothyroidism, infertility, arthritis and hip fracture.

Based on the high probability that Americans drinking fluoridated water were suffering serious and irreversible health damage, the NRC urgently recommended that the EPA ban water fluoridation until the safe threshold (based on urine fluoride measurements) could be determined.

The Bush administration and corporate media buried the report.

98% of European municipalities have banned water fluoridation.

In 2011, I was part of a local citizen’s groups that persuaded New Plymouth District Council to remove the fluoride from our water. We had major support from New Zealand’s Fluoride Action Network and internationally renowned biochemist Dr Paul Connett.

Below a presentation by Dr Connett to Toronto anti-fluoride activists:

Link to Fluoride Action Network: http://www.fluoridealert.org/