The HRB has published the evidence review of existing research in relation to the health effects of community water fluoridation.
HRB Chief Executive Dr Graham Love said: “Having examined the research available, the Board has found no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation is associated with positive or negative systemic health effects. Given the lack of peer-reviewed research and the inappropriate design of many studies to detect a causal relationship, further research would be required to provide definitive proof.”
Hawkins House commissioned the HRB to determine the impact, positive or negative, on the systemic health (excluding dental health) of the population for those exposed to artificially fluoridated water (in non-endemic areas) between 0.4 and 1.5 parts per million (ppm).
The review presents the evidence provided in the two previously-published, highly-regarded systematic reviews on this topic, the York review (2000) and the Australian review (2007) and examines all additional research published in internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects from 2006 to June 2014. This research related to musculoskeletal effects, IQ and neurological manifestations, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disorders, thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome and mortality from any cause.
In addition, the HRB also examined the research available in areas where fluoride occurs naturally in the water at much higher levels (endemic areas).
According to Dr Marie Sutton, lead author of the HRB report: “Research specifically examining the association between community water fluoridation and health effects is scarce. Most of the studies reviewed are not of a suitable design to prove, or disprove, a link between fluoride consumption and negative health effects.”
She added: “Two studies that we reviewed in non-endemic regions did suggest a potential link between fluoride and negative health effects in the areas of bone health (osteosarcoma) and thyroid disease. Neither of these studies has the methodological rigour required to provide conclusive evidence that fluoride was responsible for these negative health effects.”