The following is a response to a January 24, 2020, article by Jennifer Meyer, published in the STAT, in which she smeared the Fluoride Action Network with this comment: ‘critics often attack fluoridation by citing “medical freedom” and sharing conspiracy theories which unjustly blame all manner of ills — from acne to migraines — on fluoride.’ It’s the link to “all manner of ills” that goes to FAN’s website. Unfortunately, this response submitted to the STAT was neither acknowledged nor published.
Update: The British Dental Journal published a letter on July 24, 2020, by M.A. Lennon of the British Fluoridation Society titled IQ Research Discredited which referenced Meyer’s article.
Submitted to The Stat on January 30, 2020
Jennifer Meyer, in her article Questionable study casts a cloud over the 75th anniversary of water fluoridation (January 24, 2020), accused the Fluoride Action Network of “sharing conspiracy theories”. She stated:
“Despite its proven success, critics often attack fluoridation by citing “medical freedom” and sharing conspiracy theories which unjustly blame all manner of ills — from acne to migraines — on fluoride.”
The online link for “all manner of ills” goes to the homepage of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), a small non-profit that began in 2000 to provide information on the toxicity of fluoride.
It’s disappointing that a professional would use smear tactics. But perhaps even more worrisome is why any professional website would publish them.
The “all manner of ills” Meyer discredits FAN with can be accessed at its StudyTracker which hosts one of the largest dedicated repositories on fluoride studies. For example, you can find studies published on the human brain and animal brain. Not to be unfair to the other “ills” on our website, one can find studies on the bone; kidney; reproductive toxicity; mechanisms of fluoride’s cellular toxicity, and more.
These “all manner of ills” were published in hundreds of peer-reviewed journals.
Jennifer Meyer notes that “Cavity rates plunged” with fluoridation. She fails to note that according to data published online by the World Health Organization these rates also plunged throughout Europe with only 3% of the population having any fluoridation.
Meyer also notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hailed fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century, when in reality this statement was made by the CDC’s Oral Health Division, which has a mandate to promote fluoridation but none to track any harm the practice may be causing.
Today there are 7 Mother-Offspring studies which show an association between the amount of fluoride a pregnant woman is exposed to (as measured by the level in their urine) and a lowered IQ in their offspring. These studies reveal that the fetus is the most vulnerable phase of life with respect to fluoride’s neurotoxicity.
There are 62 published studies indicating a lowered IQ in children associated with exposure to fluoride, as well as two studies with adults, for a total of 64 studies. The most recent reported a large IQ difference in children who were bottle-fed in fluoridated communities in Canada compared with non-fluoridated communities (Till et al, 2019). Another Canadian study (Riddle et al, 2019) found that the prevalence of ADHD was three times higher in fluoridated compared to non-fluoridated communities. The Fluoride Action Network has also made available links to 8 published IQ studies which found no effect.
In October 2019, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released a Draft Monograph on the Systematic Review of Fluoride Exposure and Neurodevelopmental and Cognitive Health Effects. The draft (which is currently under peer-review by the National Academy of Sciences) states:
“NTP concludes that fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans. This conclusion is based on a consistent pattern of findings in human studies across several different populations showing that higher fluoride exposure is associated with decreased IQ or other cognitive impairments in children…
In November 2016, the Fluoride Action Network, together with other non-profits and individuals, petitioned EPA under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act to ban the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water in order “to protect the public and susceptible subpopulations from the neurotoxic risks of fluoride.” After 2 years of motions and depositions, a 2-week trial is scheduled to begin on April 20 in federal court in the Northern District of California. This will be the first time that any citizen group will go to trial under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was enacted in 1976.
Another ‘ill’ according to the landmark report on the toxicology of fluoride, published by the National Research Council of the National Academies in 2006: fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor”.
On January 21, 2020, the paper, Associations of fluoride exposure with sex steroid hormones among U.S. children and adolescents, NHANES 2013–2016, reported on endocrine disrupting effects in young males and females.
It’s irresponsible for any professional to dismiss the large body of evidence that indicates that fluoride a developmental neurotoxicant, as well as an endocrine disruptor, while supporting its deliberate addition to the drinking water of millions of Americans.
Inevitably this dangerous practice will end (the sooner the better). At the very least women need to be warned to avoid fluoride during pregnancy and parents should be advised to use non-fluoridated water to make up baby formula.
We need to work for safer ways of protecting children’s teeth. There are models such as the Childsmile program in Scotland. Childsmile was developed because Scotland does not fluoridate and it appears to have a firmer commitment to health equity than we see in the USA.