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I came across this gem on facebook today. It contains no sources, makes a bold claim with a numerical statistic to "back it up", and has been "shared" and "liked" thousands of times in the last ~48 hours.

Claim: 98% of Europe Banned Water Fluoridation.

Spotted at: https://www.facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe/photos/a.10150364951666512.342374.102515706511/10153048418701512/?type=3

So, my question is:

  • Has 98% of Europe really banned fluoridation? As in, it's currently banned in 98% of Europe, by any measure (countries, population, land mass, whatever would get it even close to this number), when this was posted Oct 5th, 2015?

And a fair follow-up question, should the first actually turn out to be true:

  • Is this facebook post still misleading the audience? If so, how?

EDIT:

I found this question from 3 years ago that has two answers - one saying the statistic is close enough (~96.7% instead of 98%), the other saying the actual statistic would be closer to "70% of Europe doesn't fluoridate their water". The question itself was updated to point out that some places fluoridate their milk instead of their water, so just because there isn't water fluoridation in a country doesn't mean the population is fluoride-free. Let's sort this out and get to the bottom of it, shall we?

  • It's still a duplicate. We already "got to the bottom of it" – Jamiec Oct 7 '15 at 8:58
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    Except we didn't get to the bottom of it. Neither answer is accepted, and neither answer is clearly right. I'd be fine with the older question getting new attention and being resolved, but as of right now it's not. – Martin Carney Oct 7 '15 at 15:20
  • I wouldnt read too much into the fact that the original questioner did not come back and mark one answer as accepted. That doesn't mean that neither/both are acceptable. What specifically do you not think was addressed by the 2 answers? – Jamiec Oct 7 '15 at 15:24
  • Fair enough. It doesn't have a clear "winner", but the answers and comments combined do serve to answer the underlying question - is the claim false or purposefully misleading? The answer is yes, it is either false, or purposefully misleading. – Martin Carney Oct 7 '15 at 15:35