Fluoride Action Network

Letter to the Surgeon General urging CDC issue warnings to pregnant women and parents of bottle-fed infants not to use fluoridated water

Letter to the Surgeon General from Paul Connett, PhD, January 14, 2022

Fluoride Action Network
105 Kingston Road
Exeter, NH 03833

Jan 14, 2022

Dear Dr. Murthy,

I am writing to you as America’s Surgeon General because I am concerned about the failure of the CDC and other U.S. health organizations to warn both pregnant women and parents who bottle-feed their infants on the recent NIH-sponsored science indicating that fluoride poses a risk to the developing brain (at the exposure levels experienced in fluoridated communities) both in utero and during early infancy. This is an alarming “oversight” for which I believe you, may I respectfully suggest, as the head medical officer in the USA, must ultimately bear responsibility. This is a particularly onerous situation in 2022 as the CDC seems to be engaging in a concerted effort to expand municipal fluoridation with new technology and therefore endangers the health of more Americans and will limit the potential of millions more of our children.

Here below is more detail on our concerns.

It has now been over four years since the first high quality US-government funded study (Bashash et al., 2017) found an association between fetal exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ, and over two years since that finding was repeated by another US-government funded study (Green et al., 2019) and over one year since a third US-government-funded study (Till et al., 2020) found that bottle-fed infants in fluoridated communities in Canada had a significantly lowered IQ compared to bottle-fed infants in non-fluoridated  communities. Yet another US-government funded study found an increase in ADHD symptoms associated with in utero exposure to fluoride (Bashash et al., 2018).

As a scientist who has followed the matter of fluoride’s neurotoxicity for over 25 years I believe that these studies are some of the highest quality performed to date on this matter. In my opinion they are a game-changer as far as the debate over water fluoridation is concerned. Surely risks to the developing brain must nullify any considerations of benefit to teeth?

Based upon calculations by the Fluoride Action Network’s  (FAN) Research Director, Chris Neurath, the findings from these studies when compared to Bellinger’s study from 2012, indicate that water fluoridation is causing a greater total loss of IQ points for America’s population of children than any other single factor, including current exposure to lead and preterm births.

In short, I believe Dr. Murthy that these publications now outdate the comments you made on water fluoridation in 2015 and I feel that you should acknowledge this publicly. This would not be the first time that a well-established medical practice has had to be reassessed in the face of new important scientific findings.

Meanwhile, while the ramifications of these studies wind their way slowly through the pro-fluoridation bureaucracies of both professional bodies and governmental agencies, it is urgent that someone in your leadership position finds a way to get warnings to pregnant women to avoid fluoridated water during pregnancy and for parents not to use fluoridated water to make up baby formula.

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, former head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2009-2019), one of the US agencies that funded the studies identified above, and two of the scientists (Dr. Bruce Lanphear and Dr. Christine Till) who performed two of the studies have urged this step in an important editorial. But not one single health agency (including the CDC) in the USA has issued any warning to pregnant women or bottle-feeding parents on this matter.

Dr. Murthy, does the CDC (and you personally) not have a moral responsibility to warn the public of these potential dangers, since the CDC is recognized worldwide as being the most influential and most important promoter of this practice? Indeed, hardly a day goes by without some community or audience somewhere in the world being told that the CDC considers fluoridation to be one of the top public health achievements of the twentieth century (CDC, 1999). In fact, you yourself repeated this claim in the 2015 Public Health report cited above. If the CDC does not exercise this moral responsibility will it not erode the trust of the American people in this agency in particular and the health community in general?

It has also been some nine months since I wrote to Dr. Rochelle Walensky (see letter signed by 112 professionals dated May 3, 2021) on this matter. Several times since then I have written to Dr. Karen Hacker (Director, CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) detailing our concerns. It has also been over two months since Dr. Hacker and others at the CDC heard in person (via a Zoom call on Nov 1, 2021) from Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Dr. Christine Till and Dr. Philippe Grandjean on their research. Meanwhile, more and more studies are being published on this issue around the world. See the list of 23 human studies that have been published in the four years since the Bashash, 2017 study was published. which have found a lowering of IQ associated with fluoride exposure at modest levels and in the case of the US-government funded studies at the levels experienced in artificially fluoridated communities.

Meanwhile, the CDC continues to promote water fluoridation with taxpayers’ funds and is currently eyeing a delivery system which would enable more small communities to fluoridate their water. It is boasting that this will add another 19 million people to those already drinking artificially fluoridated water in the USA.

It would appear that protecting and continuing this practice has become more important to CDC personnel than protecting the future mental well-being of our children.

Both as a citizen and as a scientist I find this intolerable and am appealing to you as the highest medical officer in the land to use your influential leadership position to find a way to change this situation and halt the promotion of this practice and at a minimum get urgent warnings to pregnant women and parents who bottle-feed their infants to avoid using fluoridated water.

For over 70 years this debate has been framed as adding fluoride to drinking water, in the light of this new evidence, I think it would be more accurately described as adding a known neurotoxic substance to the amniotic fluid of a fetus on the first day of its existence. That is not a wise thing to do and it needs a wise man with courage to say so.

Thank you for your consideration Dr. Murthy. I look forward to your reply to this urgent request.


Paul Connett, PhD
Executive Director,
Fluoride Action Network,
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