Fluoride Action Network

Unpublished response to Rekha Basu’s syndicated column: Stop rejecting science in favor of superstition

By Paul Connett, PhD, Director, Fluoride Action Network
Posted on April 18th, 2019
Industry type: Misinformation
Note from Fluoride Action Network:
We are publishing Paul Connett’s response to Rekha Basu’s syndicated column which ran in the Des Moines Register (Iowa), the Daily Republic (Solano County CA), Daily Sun (AZ), The Ledger (FL), The Daily World (WA), Post-Bulletin (MN), and perhaps many other newspapers, because the initial publisher (the Des Moines Register) refused to print it even though Rekha Basu slandered Connett. For whatever reason, the Des Moines Register changed the title of the article from Stop rejecting science in favor of superstition when it was first published (unlike the others newspapers cited above) to: From fluoride to vaccines, resistance to proven health protocols has us sliding backward.

April 18, 2019

Dear Editors: Please run this as an Op-Ed response to Rekha Basu: Stop rejecting science in favor of superstition, published by the Des Moines Register, April 3, 2019, in which I was singled out for a false personal attack. I do not peddle superstition but instead promote honest science in the public interest. I did not know how to attach my photo.

Rekha Basu’s syndicated column portrayed water fluoridation opponents as “anti-scientific, conspiracy theorists.” I was singled out for special attack. Before she did so she should have researched my background and what I have contributed to the fluoridation debate.

–     I am a retired professor of chemistry who specialized in environmental chemistry and toxicology.

–     My opposition to fluoridation (since 1996) is firmly rooted in sound science.

–     The webpage of the Fluoride Action Network, a non-profit I helped to found in 2000, has the largest health data base on fluoride in the world (http://fluoridealert.org/studytracker/)

–     I was the only scientist opposed to fluoridation who was invited in 2003 to present to the prestigious panel chosen by the U.S. National Research Council to review the EPA’s safe drinking water standards for fluoride. The panel listened to my concerns and the excellent report on the toxicology of fluoride (NRC, 2006) reviewed much of the literature I cited.

–     With two other scientists, James Beck, MD, PhD and Spedding Micklem, D.Phil (Oxon), I published the book, The Case Against Fluoride…(Chelsea Green, 2010) in which every argument was fully supported with 80 pages of references.

I will ignore Rekha’s simplistic “guilt by association” arguments and focus on one key scientific issue: fluoride’s neurotoxicity. Rekha claims, based upon a pro-fluoridation group, my facts “come mainly from other countries where concentrations [of fluoride] are higher.”

Fortunately, China, with areas of high natural fluoride (and endemic for dental and skeletal fluorosis) has done a great deal of research and helped to fill the vacuum left by the lack of research in artificially fluoridated countries, especially on fluoride’s neurotoxicity.

Over 200 animal studies indicate fluoride can damage the brain and  53 out of 60 human studies from India, China, Iran, and Mexico, indicate an association between children’s exposure to fluoride and lowered IQ  (see studies here http://fluoridealert.org/issues/health/brain/ )

Some of these studies were at relatively high fluoride exposures but others were not. For example, Xiang et al., 2003. Our analysis of this study indicates that children exposed to 1.4 mg/day had an associated loss of 5 IQ points. A child in the U.S. would reach 1.4 mg/day drinking two liters of fluoridated water at the CDC recommended level of 0.7 ppm. If we include exposure to fluoridated toothpaste, many U.S. children would exceed this dose.

Recent western research confirms the Chinese studies and is alarming.

In a 12-year U.S.-funded study, researchers from several institutions, including Toronto University, Harvard and Mount Sinai, have found a strong association between women’s exposure to fluoride (as measured in their urine) during pregnancy in Mexico City and lowered IQ and symptoms of ADHD in their offspring (Bashash et al., 2017 and 2018). Moreover, the average urine levels of these pregnant women (0.91 ppm) are almost identical to pregnant women in Canada (0.87 ppm, Till et al., 2018). Conference presentations indicate other studies have replicated Bashash’s findings.

It is troubling that Rekha appears to be unaware – or unconcerned – about these serious findings. What is troubling is that women are not being warned to avoid fluoride during pregnancy.

I agree with Rekha when she states, “As an engaged public, we should all hold our government and institutions accountable and be skeptical when there are legitimate indications of wrongdoing. But we need to be discerning and base judgments on evidence, not on fabricated theories stemming from some ideological agenda or promoting someone’s snake-oil sales.”

In the case of fluoride’s neurotoxicity, she will find that our judgment is closer to scientific evidence than the self-serving handouts from groups who so wedded to this outdated practice, that they refuse to read the literature.


Paul Connett, PhD
Director, Fluoride Action Network

Paul Connett, PhD, is a professor emeritus of Chemistry at St. Lawrence University and director of the non-profit Fluoride Action Network. He is author of The Zero Waste Solution (Chelsea Green 2013) and co-author of The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green 2010).