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Monday, November 26, 2001

Oregon didn't take suicide law lightly

About the Nov. 21 article on Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law and the Justice Department's effort to nullify it: The state of Oregon did not pass their assisted suicide law lightly. Much deliberation, thought, and soul-searching went into their decision. It appears to be a well-written law with numerous safeguards to prevent abuses. How is it that the Republicans can preach home-rule and states' rights, and at the same time try to impose their collective Federal will on Oregon?

My message to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration -- allow Oregon (and other states) to decide for themselves.

Dave Kern

New technology helps medical screening

I want to clarify for your readers the difference between "scanning centers" using conventional helical or spiral CT scanning and the services offered at Holistica Hawaii and other highly regarded medical centers, like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, using the advanced Electron Beam Tomography imaging technology ("Beyond skin deep," Nov. 4).

The EBT scanner was developed for preventive health screening and early detection of plaque and calcification within the heart arteries. A non-invasive EBT scan is considered the "gold standard" for early detection of arteriosclerosis and is 98 percent accurate in ruling out this disease. This is very helpful to see if someone is at risk for a heart attack. The EBT scanner also produces excellent full-body images for early detection of disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

EBT scanning can assist patients and their doctors with important information to supplement a routine physical. This new technology offers new paradigms in medical screening that are meant to complement, not replace, doctor visits.

Roger White, M.D.
Medical Director
Holistica Hawaii


"A lot of the questions have nothing to do with terrorism. It's a dragnet approach that magnifies concerns about racial and ethnic profiling."

Brent White

Legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, urging the Honolulu Police Department to refuse to help the U.S. Justice Department by interviewing foreigners who are in the United States with nonimmigrant visas in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Even if it would help Hawaii, they don't want it to work because it's not their idea."

Mark Moses

Republican state representative from Makakilo, on Democratic opposition to the GOP proposal for a second special session of the Legislature to stimulate Hawaii's economy by creating a tax holiday.

Baby bottle tooth decay is real problem

Your Nov. 19 article "UH school wins out over Lanai fluoride" had a misstatement that the "initiative has broad-based support on Lanai," and that most anti-fluoride activists are from other islands.

I have more than 800 signatures and still growing (out of 3,000 residents) who signed a petition opposing adding the industrial grade fluoridation chemical with heavy metal impurities into their water. This is broad-based support.

This is far more than the 30 to 40 who made the decision. Yes, I was invited over to give an informational briefing. As a result, about 90 percent of those attending signed the petition, including the only dentist on the island who changed his mind. His basis was that there is no need to use the water system since there are many other ways to deliver fluoride in a safer and controlled manner, without infringing on freedom of choice.

The real problem, though, is baby bottle tooth decay. Fluoridation does not prevent this problem. Hawaii's rate of such decay is 2.6 times the national average. Auwe! No wonder we have one of the highest overall rates of tooth decay. So parents, do not let the keiki fall asleep with a juice or soda bottle in the mouth and wipe baby's teeth with a soft towel.

But editor, you may need to print this lesson in other languages such as Tagalog, Vietnamese and Hawaiian, since this is what the health department did to reduce baby bottle tooth decay by 20 percent from 1989 to 1999 without water fluoridation. Let's not contaminate our pure water just because our Health Department does not know how to get the job done.

Adrian Chang

Evidence does not support fluoride use

Fluoride facts speak louder than the Star-Bulletin's opinions (Editorial, "Find a way to begin fluoridating water," Nov. 20), or the alleged opinions of three-quarters of Americans polled. The vocal minority is, contrary to your assertion, in fact the majority who know the facts.

The Department of Health has no factual evidence supporting its position that fluorine is safe and effective.

Fact: 1,500 scientists, Environmental Protection Administration employees, have called for a national moratorium on communal water fluoridation in June 2000 in a hearing before a congressional committee.

Fact: The American Dental Association's Featherstone Report of July 2000 admitted that if fluoride is effective, it is effective topically, not systemically; that is, ingesting fluorine from water does not work.

Fact: The Centers for Disease Control states, "How fluoride prevents dental caries indicates that fluoride's predominant effect is posteruptive and topical," i.e. after the teeth have erupted and by topical application of fluorine gel.

Fact: Fluorine in small amounts will affect plants in Hawaii such as ti and dracaena, to name only two.

Ronald S. Carlson, D.D.S.

Fluoride succeeds in preventing decay

So 46 of our legislators think it is better to pay Lanai's dentists for treating the island's children than to prevent the decay in the first place.

The people of Hawaii, especially residents of Lanai, should be outraged over this.

Do these lawyers think that restoring a decayed tooth makes it as good as new? Nothing a dentist can use to restore a decayed tooth is as good as a healthy, caries-free tooth. When they go to dental school and invent the perfect restorative material they may be able to argue their case.

Water fluoridation to optimum levels has a 50-plus-year history of preventing tooth decay. It is one of the great public health success stories of the 20th century.

Our legislators need to get educated and get some empathy for the children of Lanai and the rest of Hawaii. They seem to be placing the ignorant paranoia of the quacks over the dental health of the children of Lanai. They need to find another line of work.

Myren R. Severin, D.D.S.

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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