Freedom of Information Act Emails Expose Fluoridation Promoters

The Fluoride Action Network has obtained thousands of pages of documents and emails through the Freedom of Information Act over the past several years, primarily for use in our federal lawsuit against the EPA. This means that unfortunately, much of what we found cannot be shared until the trial is complete in a few more months. That said, we do want to share a few tidbits with you that don’t involve the lawsuit.

First, we have an email from Johnny Johnson, DDS, the president of the pro-fluoridation lobbying group called the American Fluoridation Society. In this email, he warns various promoters of the practice that the National Toxicology Program’s systematic review, which reported that 52 of 55 studies found decreases in child IQ associated with an increase in fluoride, was already causing formerly supportive public health officials to distance themselves from fluoridation. In this case, it was a state toxicologist in the U.S. and a Ministry of Health toxicologist in Israel.

With your help, we hope to continue to use the NTP report’s findings to convince more federal, state, and local health officials to reverse their support for fluoridation.

Our second email is from fluoridation promoter and Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska, Dr. Jennifer Meyer. She was the lead author of a highly flawed 2018 study (Meyer et al., 2018) that claimed that fluoridation cessation in Juneau, Alaska increased medicaid spending on adolescent dental decay. Though her study mentioned but didn’t account for the fact that during the study period Alaska substantially increased medicaid reimbursements for oral health procedures–something that is known to significantly increase medicaid spending and increase the scope of procedures used. You’ll see from the email below that she isn’t an unbiased researcher.

In her email below to fellow members of the American Fluoridation Society’s “Scientific Committee,” she responds to a newly published study in the journal Environment International that linked fluoridated water to liver and kidney impairment in adolescents. The study used CDC data and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Mount Sinai Children’s Hospital Foundation.

As you can see, her reaction is to admit that the study is meaningful and was published in a reputable journal, but she suggests that the response ought to be to baselessly “publicly shame the editors and the authors,” as well as the “university and funders,” to keep other studies connecting fluoridated water to serious side effects–what she calls “low hanging fruit”–from continuing to be published.

In the third email we’re sharing today, we have a message from Johnny Johnson of AFS again, this time to the members of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD). In it, he asks for help defending the first ever randomized controlled trial on fluoridation, which is being conducted on infants in Kinston, North Carolina (see our bulletin on the matter). As you can see from the message, promoters were panicking because FAN was able to get the local NAACP chapter to reverse their support for the study. You can also see from the last sentence that our work has successfully put the continuation of the study at risk.

The final messages we’ll share today are from another pro-fluoridation email chain. In this case, it features a message from Johnny Johnson to the group telling them about a presentation at the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) by Professor Christine Till on her NIH-funded research into fluoride and cognitive impairment.

This email from Dr. Johnson led to a campaign by most of the members of their email chain to smear the study with false claims and urge the ISEE to create a review panel to determine if Dr. Till should be able to present at their conference.

However, a member of the ISEE conference leadership replied back to the two dozen or so fluoridation promoters who all sent the same form letter requesting an independent review of Dr. Till’s work. As you can see from the reply from Dr. Ritz, the pro-fluoridation campaign for censorship failed, as the ISEE favored “an open forum for vigorous scientific discussion” and let the presentation go on as scheduled.

These documents are just the tip of the iceberg. We have thousands upon thousands of pages, with many of them revealing behind the scenes unethical behavior, shocking admissions, and in my opinion, scientific fraud from various fluoridation promoters AND government agencies.

Like the ones above, many reveal the tactics that our opponents use when confronted with high-quality, government-funded, and peer-reviewed research linking fluoridated water with harm. They don’t consider it with an open mind and scientific perspective. No, they simply attack with baseless claims, ridicule and censor the authors, and shame the funders and publishers. These aren’t the tactics used by people who have the weight of the evidence on their side.

With your help we can continue to reveal these behind the scenes actions and defend the scientists who still have integrity. Will you help us bring all of this to light in 2024?

Thank you,

Stuart Cooper, Executive Director, Fluoride Action Network