Tag Archives: Weekend Reads

Weekend Reads: Fluoride is the Word

by Kevin Schofield

This week we dive into another scientific controversy: fluoridated drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers it one of the 10great public health achievements of the 20th century, and yet others decry it as an attempt by the government to poison us (a conspiracy theory mocked in the movie Dr. Strangelove). What’s the truth? A recent research paper from Sweden tries to get to the bottom of this.

The benefit of fluoridation is in its well-documented ability to strengthen tooth enamel and this prevent tooth decay and cavities — also the reason why fluoride is added to toothpaste. The downside is that in large enough concentrations fluoride can impair cognitive development or, in the extreme, be lethal. The question is really whether a dose that is large enough to improve dental health is small enough to avoid the negative effects. 

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Weekend Reads: The Not So Secret Life of Trees!

by Kevin Schofield

This week we have two weekend reads lined up about trees: one on the outdoor kind, and one on the indoor (and seasonal) kind.

Seattle’s Urban Forest

The approximately four million trees that make up Seattle’s tree canopy, and how best to preserve them, have long been a source of contention here. On one hand, they are critical to the city meeting its environmental stewardship goals; but on the other hand, protecting them at all costs might at times interfere with attempts to increase urban density. Further complicating matters, there are equity considerations: traditionally underserved and economically disadvantaged communities in Seattle tend to have fewer trees (and less city investment in planting new ones), and there have been accusations that tree preservation concerns are wielded by so-called NIMBYs to block development in wealthier single-family residential neighborhoods.

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