Monday, November 18, 2013

Girl Against Fluoride: An F minus For Effort

A Google image search result for Aisling FitzGibbon, aka The Girl Against Fluoride. In swimwear in all images. The Empress has no clothes.
Fluoride is great. Can't get enough of the stuff. I strongly support its continued addition to the Irish water supply. But that's the stuff of another blog post. For now I'd like a quick look at its most vocal opponent, Aisling FitzGibbon, perhaps better known as the Girl Against Fluoride. She's gained attention from the Sunday World, The Journal, Hot Press, and seems to have earned the ear of politicians such as Thomas Pringle, Brian Stanley and (I note with sadness) Senator David Norris. Her main approach to publicity seems best captured by the Google image search result to the right of this text.

"By focusing on optimizing your 12-Strand DNA, this class will open your energetic pathways to manifestation and support you in living the life that you are destined to live."

I was curious as to why she so vehemently opposed this safe and long-standing improvement to the dental health of the Irish nation so I travelled to her about page, where I read that FitzGibbon is a qualified "Master Integrated Energy Therapist". Thinking perhaps that this might indicate some talent as an electrician I read further. It seems not. Rather, FitzGibbon chose to invest 685 Euro - of presumably her own money - on a weekend course that promises the following:

"Beyond your vision for yourself in the world is the angels’ even greater and grander vision for you in the world... 
You will ... receive the IET Master-Instructor attunement and learn and use the IET Master-Instructor 12-Strand DNA techniques designed to open your channels of manifestation and clear your resistance to manifesting your reach and bringing your dreams alive in the world. You will learn to use sacred geometry to harness the IET rays for the 12-Strand alignment technique, the IET powerburst technique, the I-Chi technique, the Karma Clearing technique, and more. 
You will learn how to use sacred geometry to give Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level IET attunements. Then, in support of your living your reach, you will receive 6 Basic, 6 Intermediate, and 6 Advanced re-attunements designed to open and strengthen your channels of manifestation."
They are perhaps to be congratulated for squeezing so much into a 15.5 hour event.

Some other choice quotes from the site:

"Stevan has been channeling messages from Angel Ariel in which the angels have been requesting our help. The angels are requesting that the IET community work directly with them to introduce a special infusion of angelic energy designed to bring about a much higher level of peace, harmony, and love in our lives and in the lives of people worldwide. This angelic energy will help to clear resistance to love that are creating global warming, civil wars, and unrest worldwide." - World Angel Grid 
"The cellular memory in animals is in some ways similar to that of human beings, but is in many ways different. This class explores the soul’s mission of these three types of pets (through information channeled from Angel Ariel), details their nine cellular memory areas, their IET integration points, and the complete step-by-step session procedures. Only IET Master-Instructors are authorized to teach this class." - IET for pets
Are you in search of a suitably qualified IET master instructor? Perhaps concerned that FitzGibbon might not yet have attained the qualification required to speak of cellular memory of cats? You are welcome to verify her status as a qualified master instructor through their instructor search engine. One must presume it is powered by chi enhanced angels.

The volume of available material is so abundant, and the choice of preposterous quotes so dauntingly large, that I regret I must move on from But the next time you feel a little low I suggest you console yourself with perusal of its pages and reassure yourself that you have never chosen it wise to sign up for four courses in angel healing. (The master IET 'qualification' is only available to those who have parted with cash for three required prior courses.)

"A Dietitian is to a Nutritionist what a Dentist is to a Toothiologist" - Dara O'Briain

Next we learn that FitzGibbon is "...currently training as a Nutritional Therapist with The College of Natural Nutrition". Curious as to what this involves I checked the College of Natural Nutrition's site, and the closest match I could find was a Nutritional Adviser. Some quotes on the exacting requirements to gain this particular qualification, which is presumably at least indicative of this establishment's standards:

"This course when studied together with the Cellular Awakening Correspondence Course, the Anatomy & Physiology Course and the 10 Hour Clinical Study Course leads to a full Nutritional Advisor Qualification.
This course is supplied in written booklet form which will be sent to your email address upon application.
Certificate of Completion in Nutrition is given on completion of this module.
This certificate makes up part of the full diploma: "The Diploma in
Cellular Awakening "
The cost of the Nutrition Course is £150."
The Cellular Awakening course is pricier, costing £500, and again the certificate is merely for completion. Anatomy and Physiology will cost another £150 to have the relevant booklet e-mailed, the first and perhaps only step on the way to a completion certificate. The 10 hour Clinical Study Course seems a snip at £100, and enables you to have an instructor help you "delve into complex scenarios and how best to deal with them using your cellular awakening knowledge".

On first reading this seemed the sort of harmless diversion entered upon by folks destined to stock shelves in health food stores, advising everyone that the human condition is fundamentally incompatible with the consumption of wheat. But then I looked a little further into the College of Natural Nutrition. The college (in fact an industrial building) bestowed a nutritional degree on Barbara Nash, who later settled with a former client to the tune of 800,000. The client suffered serious brain damage after being advised to drink six pints of water a day and cut salt. The principal, Barbara Wren, has claimed to be able to cure thyroid cancer through a combination of castor oil and urine. She has also advised her students to recommend dangerously massive doses of iodine.

To compound matters, this huckster seems to be both genesis and inspiration of FitzGibbon's campaign. Read this interview for more, but a key paragraph:

"I ended up having a consultation with a nutritionist called Barbara Wren in the UK. One of the first things Barbara said to me was “are you aware that your water is fluoridated”? ... I [came?] off l medication and consumed only fluoride free water ... different detox techniques such as coffee enemas... I did some fund-raising to bring Barbara over to give seminars on natural healing in my home town of Tralee, Co.Kerry. When I brought Barbara back to the airport she said to me “if you do one thing for Ireland, get the fluoride out of the water”. "

"Okay, so you kill the odd patient with cancer or heart disease. Or bronchitis, flu, chicken pox or measles. But, when someone comes in with a vague sense of unease, or a touch of the nerves, or even just more money than sense, you'll be there for them. Bottle of basically just water in one hand, and a huge invoice in the other." - Mitchell and Webb on Homeopathy

FitzGibbon has not, to my knowledge, endorsed the practice of homeopathy. But she follows an awful lot of homeopaths on Twitter. 43 in fact. A sample homeopath to the right, followed by FitzGibbon, endorses dangerous nonsense about replacing proven vaccines with basically just water. This belief kills children. Another believes their water capable of treating autism. I'll close off this blog post with the Twitter biographies of every homeopath FitzGibbon has chosen to follow. Now again, FitzGibbon has not publicly denied or endorsed homeopathy: it's not impossible that she shares the scientific consensus that the field is bunkum yet chooses to follow the better part of four dozen homeopathy Twitter accounts.

I merely note it as odd that one who seeks to change the standards whereby we prepare water for human consumption would put herself in a position where someone might reasonably think she endorses a crackpot idea that so profoundly and manifestly misunderstands the basic operation of water.

Unless, of course, homeopathy's mechanism can be explained by focused angel energies.

[addendum - in a followup blog post I detail how FitzGibbon's mother and fellow campaign member opposes vaccines and endorses homeopathy as an alternative. FitzGibbon voices her support for this. The campaign's creative manager thinks that homosexuality is something caused by contraception. FitzGibbon also studies under a nutritioniologist who recommends parents attempt to feed their autistic children via their rectum, a procedure FitzGibbon has attended a two day course to receive an unregulated qualification to perform.]

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To those who have read all the above I feel some bonus woo is earned. Below, FitzGibbon shares her thoughts on WiFi:
Declan Waugh: Folks last thing you do before you go to bed if not before, turn off your wifi or modem. Reduce your exposure at least while you and your children sleep. Aisling C FitzGibbon: We always do this. The Wifi interferes with the day/night cleanse of your cells. Great advice Declan Waugh


Ed said...

Seriously Geoff,

Would it not be better to put forward a well drafted case for Fluoride in the water system, than attack an individuals credibility ??

Sonderval said...

Both the messenger and the message are flawed. Geoff is right to discredit both.

zach blasi said...

For or against fluoride I find this article to be light on the intelligence and heavy on the opinion. Perhaps more research into facts and less into negative things that have been stated by others.

Ronan McManus said...

I think that exposing the anti-scientific nature of this campaign is important.

TGAF claims to have a science degree, which lends her an air of competence and authority. This claim is accepted, unchallenged, by her followers (many of whom have little or no understanding of science).

Anonymous said...

The fact that this particular person is the most vocal opponent of fluoride says a great deal more about Ireland’s political and media culture than it does about the person herself.

I think we should be looking at anti-fluoride paranoia as a symptom of a wider social problem. Suspicion of public institutions –particularly those dealing with public health and welfare, has a solid basis in fact: symphisiotomy, caesarean hysterectomies, baby trafficking, child slavery, the Hepatitis C crisis, to name a few issues.

More generally, Ireland suffers from a lack of proper local democratic institutions and its highly centralised State institutions tend to act with high-handed dismissals of popular concerns.

It may well be that anti-fluoride activism is founded on irrational beliefs, but if it gains popular traction, it is on account of a general lack of democratic accountability and an absence of readily accessible and intelligible public information. I think it is misguided to focus on the crackpot beliefs of individuals, because one runs the risk of presenting public institutions as Reason incarnate, which is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The Heretic said...

Hi Geoff, I thought you would be above using the old "Ad Hominem".
Lots of Politicians believe in a Zombie saviour with magical healing powers. Please get back to highlighting the arguments

The Heretic said...

Hi Geoff, I thought you would be above using the old "Ad Hominem".
Lots of Politicians believe in a Zombie saviour with magical healing powers. Please get back to highlighting the arguments

Unknown said...

Nowhere in this post has Geoff come even remotely close to suggesting that fluoride be deemed safe because the people who oppose it are loons (the two points are completely separate). In fact he makes the distinction perfectly clear at the very beginning of the post, saying the discussion on fluoride itself is a post for another time.
He's absolutely right to point out that this woman's "qualifications" are nonsense. Calling that an ad hominem argument tells me that a) you didn't read the article, or b) you don't understand what "ad hominem" means.

Johnny Walker said...

Fun fact for the day: British people have better quality teeth than Americans. Not straighter or whiter, but stronger and healthier. (Fewer cavities, etc.)

So what's the evidence that Flouride is so "great" for us to consume? I'd genuinely like to know, as I assume there must be some...?

Matthew Carrigan said...

Since a lot of people have asked about the evidence, a number of reviews exist on the topic, here's a selection of recent ones:

The general consensus is that water fluoridation is safe and effective, which is echoed by pretty much all major dental/health organizations in the western world, see, for example:




Et cetera et cetera.

Matthew Carrigan said...

Oops, mistake! The WHO paper I linked there actually refers to the health effects of high levels of fluoride in groundwater in various parts of the world (very high fluoride levels in places like India and China are often a serious health concern).

I can't actually find a full position paper from them on water fluoridation, but they make their support for water fluoridation clear in several places on their website, e.g.

Unknown said...

Hi Ed,

"Would it not be better to put forward a well drafted case for Fluoride in the water system, than attack an individuals credibility ??"

There are eight decades of the former (do bear in mind fluoride occurs naturally in water), and nowhere near enough of the latter.

Thanks for commenting.

Unknown said...

Hi Zach,

For or against fluoride I find this article to be light on the intelligence and heavy on the opinion. Perhaps more research into facts and less into negative things that have been stated by others.

I'm not sure how you support this conclusion. Everything I've said is either confirmed with references to FitzGibbon's own words, the words of her cosmic angel healing rays academy, or BBC reports into her nutritioniology 'college' where the principal pretends to have cured cancer using urine and castor oil.

Quoting a man who charges hundreds for weekend courses while claiming to hear the will of a cabal of intergalactic angels can hardly be described as a negative thing when FitzGibbon proudly discusses her certificate granted from that institution, or when her name is displayed on their roster of those capable of manipulating angel rays into pets to discover their soul's true path.

She does not find the association negative. If you do, then perhaps you should rethink your support of FitzGibbon.

Unknown said...

Hi Ronan,

I think that exposing the anti-scientific nature of this campaign is important.

Hi Sonderval,

Both the messenger and the message are flawed. Geoff is right to discredit both.

Thanks! That was my intention.

Unknown said...

Hi Ronan,

It may well be that anti-fluoride activism is founded on irrational beliefs, but if it gains popular traction, it is on account of a general lack of democratic accountability and an absence of readily accessible and intelligible public information.

Interesting and well thought out comment. We don't entirely disagree :) But I feel it's as valid to criticise a fluoride opponent's actions if they are grounded in a belief in pseudoscience as it is to criticise a political decision grounded in undue deference to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Unknown said...

Hi The Heretic,

Hi Geoff, I thought you would be above using the old "Ad Hominem".
Lots of Politicians believe in a Zombie saviour with magical healing powers. Please get back to highlighting the arguments

An ad hominem is the rejection of an argument based on an irrelevant fact about the author of the argument. She's in a scientific debate. She clearly rejects science. This is not irrelevant.

Your equation of Christianity with willingly paying people who pretend to cure cancer beggars belief, as well as being quite off the mark on Christianity. Do you not know any Christians?

Unknown said...

Hi Johnny W,

Fun fact for the day: British people have better quality teeth than Americans. Not straighter or whiter, but stronger and healthier. (Fewer cavities, etc.)

So what's the evidence that Flouride is so "great" for us to consume? I'd genuinely like to know, as I assume there must be some...?

The NHS provide free universal dental healthcare to all citizens under 18 (or 19 if still in school). The Americans do not. If you accept that dental healthcare improves dental health, and that cost can be a barrier to accessing goods and services, you have your answer.

Unknown said...

Thanks Ark!

Bock the Robber said...

Ed, I didn't see any attack on the girl's credibility.

Could you point out where Geoff did that?

All I saw was a list of nonsense that she claims to believe in.

Bock the Robber said...

Dodgy comment syatem, Geoff. Could you delete two of them please?

Unknown said...

Sure, done. Folks should check out Bock's blog, it's really rather good.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Interesting Geoff, your removal of my comment says it all. A dentist who is not afraid to post a contrary opinion to yours and the dental establishment. Their reaction and yours - can´t deal then censure. It´s an easier road than debating the reality. No doubt this will disappear too.
Dr Don Mac Auley.

Hi Geoff,
Why don´t you come down to my dental practice in Navan and I´ll show you the damage that fluoride is doing to our children´s teeth - dental fluorosis. Maybe you consider this fluoride damage to their tooth enamel a cosmetic effect. Like other preachers your personal attacks are a thin veneer revealing your own deficiencies.

Unknown said...

Hi Don,
"This comment has been removed by the author" means you deleted it, not me. Your argument is with yourself. (Good luck with that!)
If I make the trek to Navan, will you show me proof of healing angels and magic cancer cures? If not then my point stands.

Allan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Geoff, your strident personal abuse and misdirection of the issue suggests 1. she is correct, as are the rest of the EU and Northern Ireland, in recognising the scientific shown effects of fluoride,a toxic industrial waste smartly added to water supply to foil class action against polluters, 2. you have personal mental problem, perhaps low intelligence or psychopathy or are pre modern and the action by a postmodern girl, not establishment, not your hierarchy of fools, is threatening. 3. Or maybe you know she is correct and cannot be refuted. When you delete me for being less obscene than you, please note, I am a scientist. Fluoride has every toxic effect listed by scientists. It is also known to be detrimental to teeth health,and the harder surface obscures the inner decay. Ireland has far worst teeth than the EU. The world experts support her action. You attack the person not he truth. pathetic.

Unknown said...

Re Geoff's comment re paying for alternative cancer treatments, as I recall survival from oncology chemo treatments was running at 4% last time I spoke to a (wealthy) oncologist. Sounds a flaky offer. My grandmother had her left breast removed when she was riddled with cancer,as the surgeon later confessed, took 4 years for her to die and her breast did not heal. In the country, no running water or electricity.

Unknown said...

Always fun when anonymous accounts argue that they're correct because they claim (without evidence) to be scientists.

Unknown said...

I recall that anti-fluoride activism was the cause of the third world war - at least in the classic Kubrick film Dr Strangelove. In the film the US Air Force base commander (played by the wonderful Sterling Hayden) was convinced that the dentists (sorry, commies) were responsible for tampering with Americans' 'precious bodily fluids'. A counterattack on Russia was therefore absolutely necessary and the B52s were launched!

My favourite bit in the film was when the RAF captain on secondment, Mandrake, played by Peter Sellars, tried to ring the Pentagon to get them to stop the planes. Because the phones were out he had to get coins from the nearby Coca Cola machine to make the call on a payphone. The guard (Keenan Wynn) waved his gun in his face as he tried to extricate money from the machine, complaining that he (Mandrake) would have to be accountable to them for the damage to their private property.

Come to think of it, shouldn't the focus of these equally nutty campaigners be shifted to this bland sugary drink? The Coca Cola company spends billions of dollar (around $4-5 billion at the last count) marketing this stuff world wide. The damage it does to the teeth (and bodies) of children is far, far worse that anything fluoride is likely to do.

Last point, the recommended level of flouride in water to maintain positive results for dental health is far lower than many places where it is found naturally - and in those places it is removed to obtain the optimal level. The real discussion point not some non-existent natural purity of water (which for many of use would be ditch water - or 'purity of essence' as the unhinged air force commander put it) but merely the correct blend of constituents to make water portable and health-enhancing.

Fluoridation is merely healthy good sense, which is precisely what the campaigners and their political backers seem to lack.