ANH's Robert Verkerk and other anti-fluoride campaigners pay tribute to a fellow campaigner, nature lover and friend
Retired holistic dentist, long-term anti-fluoride campaigner, nature and animal lover, Dr Tony Lees, has died and the age of seventy eight. He was a personal friend of Dr Robert Verkerk and his family.
Tony passed away in the early evening on Friday 24th April following a short illness which followed a very recent diagnosis of lung cancer. He will be very sadly missed, and will be remembered by many for the stand he took against fluoride, and his dedication to safer dentistry. His funeral will take place on Tuesday 12th May.
Tony in his favourite place, his organic vegetable garden
A holistic dentist who saw the dangers of fluoride
Tony had a realisation about the dangers of fluoride after the death of his mother after she suffered a hip fracture. She had lived in Birmingham which has long fluoridated its drinking water. A comment made by Tony’s mother’s consultant who had observed a higher frequency in of hip fractures in fluoridated areas around Birmingham, compared with non-fluoridated areas, prompted Tony to do his own research. It was a personal awakening for him of the dangers of the controversial practice. He subsequently became an active anti-fluoride campaigner alongside working as a holistic dentist. The Timeswrote in 2001 that “Tony Lees, from Herefordshire, a dentist for 40 years, believes that fluoride should be banned from toothpastes and water. The marginal benefit it displays for teeth does not outweigh its general dangers”. Then in 2002, The Scotsman wrote “Tony Lees, from Hereford, is one of the few dentists to oppose fluoridation”.
Amongst Tony Lees’ many comments made about fluoridation, are the following:
"People believe - wrongly - that the entire membership of the British Dental Association is in favour of fluoridation. There are a great many of us who are against putting this stuff into the drinking water. Fluoridation is out-dated 1960's technology, which doesn't address the cause of tooth decay. Dentists are still dealing with tooth decay in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas”Belfast 1996
“I've been looking at fluoride for years now and I believe it is systemic, affecting the bones as it does the teeth. Fluoride is the most reactive element imaginable. It is taken up by the enamel cells of the teeth as they are forming and it replaces calcium”. The Case Against Fluoride by Anna Selby, The Times Magazine, May 2002
Tony has long supported his wife Jenny, owner of the stud Pearl Island Arabians which breeds pure-bred Bahrain Arabian horses in the Hereford countryside in the UK. Rob’s two eldest twin daughters, Greta and Hannah, undertook work experience at Pearl Island Arabians while studying equine studies at Aberystwyth University. Since qualifying, they have played a central role in the stud’s operation. Tony’s family and all at Pearl Island are still reeling at Tony’s sudden death last Friday evening.
Tributes to Tony Lees
From Rob Verkerk PhD
Tony was one of those remarkable, principled men who would readily walk against the crowd if he believed it was right to do so. Standing up to the British Dental Association – along with councils that were already, or planning to, fluoridate drinking water supplies, is not a decision a professional dentist makes easily. He helped thousands to become more aware of the dangers of fluoride, and especially the risks of exceeding even government approved safety thresholds by those living in fluoridated areas who were also using multiple fluoride-containing consumer products, from toothpastes, to mouthwashes and flosses. At a personal level Tony will be sorely missed. The friendship and support he extended to my wonderful eldest daughters, Greta and Hannah, along with his regular gifts of home-grown organic produce, will always be remembered. His passion for organic gardening and for horses and other animals was infectious. Apparently healthy up to a week before he died, Tony gave us one last lesson. The dignity, courage and fearlessness which characterised his last days, hours and even minutes of life, were so rare that even the nursing staff around him were reduced to tears when he closed his eyes for the last time. Tony, my dear friend and mentor, with the hugest respect, we miss you terribly. But in your passing, we will do our best to take on board your lessons, in the hope that we can become both stronger and more resilient, especially when facing major challenges.
Tony and Jenny being tourists
From Doug Cross and Liz Vaughan, at UK Councils Against Fluoridation
Tony was a remarkable man, a friend and a colleague. He was a hospitable and gentle man. Not long ago we found ourselves stuck, late one evening, on the Welsh Borders with nowhere to go for the night. Tony and Jenny were delighted to see us, and immediately found room for us, fed us and made us comfortable.
But he was far more than this. He was an honourable man, prepared to tread where so many of his fellow professionals feared to follow. As a practising dentist he had seen for himself how fluoride was harming children in the Midlands, and he stood up and publicly told how it really was. No-one coerced him to support us in the fight against water fluoridation - he saw the evidence for himself. He described to any who would listen how he had been obliged to treat so many children whose teeth had been disfigured in the false name of public health.
Our little ‘team’ travelled widely, providing Councils across the country with lively and informative presentations that left the pro-fluoridation lobby floundering in impotent fury. Tony was our star, the professional insider who would not be bullied into supporting the unsupportable beliefs of his professional fellows who were too timid to speak out and be counted. His word was accepted where that of others might be doubted. He knew what he was taking about and told people how things really are.
He was a man prepared to learn things new, and then take action. When Professor Susheela showed him her research on the drastic damaging effects of fluoride on the intestine, he was shocked. When she told him that his irritable bowel might be caused by using fluoridated toothpaste, he stopped using it and quickly recovered. But then he went one extra step forward - he produced and marketed his own commercial brand of toothpaste - unfluoridated, of course.
Over the years we have done far more than just passed each other by in the night; we have worked closely together for the sake of the children and, now, we have lost a dear friend. We shall miss him deeply.
From John Graham, Chairman, NPWA
National Pure Water Association (NPWA) is saddened to hear of Tony Lees’ passing. He will be missed greatly. Tony was a Dental Surgeon and a man of great integrity. When he found that his mother was suffering from a condition associated with water fluoridation, he bravely took a position against the practice and spoke out publicly when given the opportunity. Tony was a long-term member of and a scientific adviser to NPWA. He also served as an Executive Member/Director for many years. On behalf of the Executive Members and Membership of NPWA, condolences are sent to Tony’s wife, Jenny, family and his many friends in the anti-fluoridation campaign.