Recent reports of an epidemic in tooth decay in California children is a prime example of science by press release. No viable study shows that California children have more tooth decay than the rest of the nation.

The 1994 study, cited as proof of this epidemic, has never been published, and until just recently, has never been peer-reviewed even though the conclusions have been reported around the world for more than 5 years.

The California Oral Health Needs Assessment was performed by Dental Health Foundation under a sole source contract. Dental Health Foundation was formed in 1985 for the stated purpose of fluoridating California.

Fluoridation Task Force minutes of their Dec. 3, 1994, meeting: “The Committee will explore ways to utilize the Oral Health Needs Assessment Report’s findings. . . ; assist in developing strategy to present the information to the public prior to peer review.”

On January 31, 2000, the first peer review of the $620,000 study was delivered to the City of Escondido, California from a renowned risk assessment team, Senes Oak Ridge, Inc. of Tennessee.

On April 7, 1999 the City of Escondido, which is No. 4 on the State’s fluoridation priority list, ratified an ordinance that prohibits the addition of any substance to the water, including fluoride, that is intended to treat humans, rather than improve the drinkability of the water. During the Council’s public hearing the leading author of the Needs Assessment stated that it was this study that was presented to the State legislature as proof of the need for fluoridation.

The peer review was ordered by the City Council after some members of the Council found testimony from the author and other proponents of fluoridation to not be credible.

The peer review in its entirety is accessible on the internet at:

Senes Oak Ridge web site displaying its expertise is accessible at with a representative client list at:

The Senes peer review does not assess the pro’s or con’s of fluoride. It does assess whether the conclusions of the study are supported by the facts and design of the study.

It should be noted that Senes Oak Ridge was chosen because of their letter to the House Committee on Science offering to perform a review on fluoride during the initial stages of a request by other parties for a Congressional hearing. The Committee on Science is continuing its investigation of the various agencies handling of the fluoridation issue and compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996.

The Committee’s second round of questions addressed to the EPA, CDC, FDA, NAS, and National Sanitation Foundation are accessible in their entirety on the internet at:

The Committee requested a response from the agencies by June 1, 2000.