Fluoride Action Network

The New York Times has been utterly unprofessional on fluoridation

Fluoride Action Network | Bulletin | December 18, 2021

When Ellen and I were working to stop incinerators from being built in the USA, she would often remark that on environmental matters the Wall Street Journal, despite its largely pro-corporate and anti-environmental editorial positions, gave far better coverage of our issue than The New York Times (NYT). We suspect because they knew that their investors wanted accurate information on environmental issues which involved high ticket items like incinerators.

Now with our involvement with the fluoridation movement what we have witnessed with the NYT has been shocking – not because they disagree with us – but because their coverage has been so shallow and ill-informed. They neither present both sides of the arguments nor have they reported on the science.

For several years we thought this was because their science and health reporter Donald McNeil, Jr. took a very anti-scientific view of the matter saying that:

“…I think it’s fair to say that most members of the science staff of The New York Times consider this debate to have been decided – in fluoride’s favor – about 50 years ago.”
Reference: Donald McNeil Jr., Science Correspondent, New York Times, April 2, 2015 email. Subject: READERS MAIL.

No arguments about “science never being settled on any subject” cut any ice with him.  McNeil’s father wrote a book on fluoridation titled The Fight for Fluoridation (1957).

Donald McNeil Jr. left the NYT in 2019. Yet the NYT’s anti-scientific and unprofessional coverage continues. Two days ago they ran an article – which was utter drivel – and which our readers will see immediately when they try to read it. It does not warrant serious analysis. For a newspaper whose coverage on many other subjects is respected – even revered in some quarters – this unprofessionalism is inexplicable. My wife is an avid NYT reader.  I receive their daily summaries every morning.

The NYT sells itself on delivering the “facts” and the “truth.” For example, in today’s paper, December 18, 2021, on page A2, their ad reads:

“The truth is essential”

What is so sad – and I would say dangerous – about their unprofessional coverage is twofold,

1) many other newspapers take their cue from the NYT and

2) US Government-funded studies are showing that fluoride has the potential to damage the developing brain at levels used in drinking water fluoridation programs. Government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain recalcitrant in their religious support for this practice, and necessary warnings are not getting out to pregnant women and parents who bottle-feed their infants to avoid fluoridated water. This is tragic. Especially because it is so unnecessary. We are not asking them for some heroic action but rather to just do their job!

Here is the letter I sent the NYT yesterday – twice – neither were acknowledged so I am assuming it will not be published. FAN and our supporters are left trying to educate the American public alone.

Dear Editor,

It is sad that the Times has spent more column inches on this story, “Ancorage mayor briefly shut off fluoride in City’s water system” (Dec 17) than it has on US government-funded studies that have linked fluoride exposure to IQ loss in fluoridated communities in Canada  (Green, 2019 and Till 2020). These 2 studies are among 19 that have reported IQ loss associated with fluoride exposure between 2017 and 2021.

Without the public being informed on these serious findings pregnant women and parents who bottle-feed their infants are not being warned to avoid fluoridated water. Meanwhile, fluoridation promoters are blatantly ignoring this science and charging ahead with the expansion of fluoridation programs around the world. A few weeks ago the NZ parliament voted in mandatory fluoridation for the whole country and the UK House of Commons has done the same – only the House of Lords stands in the way.

Will the Times please sound the alarm on this matter which threatens the mental development of our children and do a professional job of following the science on this issue?

Paul Connett, PhD
Director of the Fluoride Action Network,
and co-author of The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green 2010)


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