An environmental watchdog group plans to file a complaint today with federal medical authorities claiming a Harvard doctor is fudging research findings.
The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group said Dr. Chester Douglass reported no link between fluoride and bone cancer in boys, contradicting extensive research done by one of his doctoral students.
Douglass, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, has been given grant money, possibly more than $1 million, by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to research whether there is a link between fluoride and bone cancer in boys, the non-profit group alleges.
One of his dental doctoral students, Dr. Elise Bassin, did an extensive study that found a link between fluoridated tap water and bone cancer in adolescent boys, the group said. Douglass was the lead adviser on her doctoral thesis and signed off on her research, the group claims.
Despite his student’s findings, Douglass told federal health officials in his grant report that there is no correlation, according to the group. Douglass did not send the NIEHS the student’s research but summarized it himself.
Douglass is the editor-in-chief of the Colgate Oral Care Report, a newsletter that goes to dentists and is supported by toothpaste manufacturer Colgate Palmolive.
Douglass could not be reached for comment last night. Bassin’s research has never been published and access to it is restricted by Harvard, the group said.
“It sure seems pretty outrageous,” said EWG spokesman Mike Casey. “We’re absolutely perplexed.”
It appears Douglass violated federal research rules, according to the group’s complaint, which they plan to file with the NIEHS.