The final report of a 6-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) review of fluoride neurotoxicity was blocked from public release by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Administrator in May 2022 according to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). But under an agreement reached in an ongoing lawsuit against the EPA, the report was made public today along with a table of contents.
Also released were comments from external peer-reviewers and internal HHS departments, along with NTP’s responses. The review considered all human studies of fluoride’s effect on the developing brain. Its conclusion confirmed and strengthened the findings from two earlier draft versions released in 2019 and 2020. External peer-reviewers all agreed with the report’s conclusion that prenatal and early life fluoride exposures can reduce IQ.
The report was issued in two parts, a monograph and a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that 52 of 55 studies found lower IQ with higher fluoride exposures, demonstrating remarkable consistency. Of the 19 studies rated higher quality, 18 found lowering of IQ. The meta-analysis could not detect any safe exposure, including at levels common from drinking artificially fluoridated water.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show government agencies that promote fluoridation, allied with dental interests, have tried to water down the report. When the NTP held firm, these agencies scrambled to get HHS Assistant Administrator Rachel Levine to block its release. Only one historical example exists of an NTP report being blocked from release, a report on the carcinogenicity of asbestos-contaminated talc. Talc industry groups conducted an aggressive lobbying campaign, including enlisting friendly congresspeople to intervene. FAN was able to force today’s release of the NTP fluoride report by using leverage from the ongoing lawsuit against the EPA.
Fluoridation defenders have falsely claimed draft versions of the report had been “rejected” by a National Academies committee. In fact, the committee recommended that NTP clarify their methods and reasoning for reaching their conclusions because the issue was considered so contentious. The NTP has done that in the report released today. There is now little question that a large body of scientific evidence supports a conclusion that fluoride can lower child’s IQ, including at exposure levels from fluoridated water.
With the release of this NTP report, dental interests may have to rethink their denial of the evidence that fluoridation can reduce children’s IQ.
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