A message from FAN director Paul Connett:
Heading for the ShowdownOver the last 18 years the Fluoride Action Network has been doing everything it possibly can to educate the public, the media, decision-makers, professional bodies and government agencies on the dangers of fluoride and the foolishness of the water fluoridation program.
Starting with our Fifth Citizens Conference on Fluoride we are heading for a showdown. A showdown between parents, professionals, and decision-makers who have exercised due diligence on this issue and the health agencies and regulatory bodies who have refused to exercise theirs.
Instead of due diligence and honest attention to the science on this issue, these bureaucratic entities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US, continue to put more political effort and taxpayers’ money into protecting this outdated and reckless practice than protecting the health of their citizens. Even as I write, the Australian government agency (the National Health and Medical Research Council, NHMRC) is preparing another whitewash of the science on fluoridation’s safety and effectiveness, using specially selected largely pro-fluoridation “experts.” Citizens in Australia have done everything they could to get a balanced panel but have been thwarted.
Last time round (in 2007) the NHMRC dished up an extraordinary piece of work just in time to support the new premier of Queensland’s effort to bring in mandatory fluoridation to that state. The NHMRC panel was specifically asked by citizens to include the landmark 500-page review by the US National Review (NRC, 2006). But instead of doing so the NHMRC panel nonchalantly dismissed this report in two sentences claiming that the concentrations in the studies reviewed were much higher than the levels used in fluoridation in Australia. It is hard to believe that the “experts” who wrote this were so ignorant of toxicological principles that they didn’t know the difference between concentration and dose and that they didn’t know there is need for a margin of safety analysis when studies have found harm at doses uncomfortably close to the levels experience in fluoridated communities.
Such a self-serving and sweeping dismissal of the NRC review ignored among other things the panel’s conclusion (chapter 2) that some subsets of the US population (including bottle-fed infants) were exceeding the EPA’s safe reference dose of 0.06 mg per kg bodyweight per day consuming water fluoridated at 1 ppm.
Australia is not alone in producing these self-serving government-sponsored reviews, see chapter 24 in The Case Against Fluoride by Connett, Beck and Micklem for a description of similar biased reviews from Ireland and Canada and we can expect more as this practice comes under more attack in more and more communities.
Meanwhile, a slow-speed atrocity grinds on in Washington, DC, where the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water is trying to find a way to come up with a new safe drinking water standard goal (MCLG – maximum contaminant level goal) for fluoride without undermining the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) water fluoridation program. In other words they are struggling to find a way of coming up with an MCLG greater than 1 ppm. In January 2011 the EPA indicated that the way they were going to do this was to choose severe dental fluorosis as the most sensitive end point for fluoride’s toxicity, and apply an uncertainty factor of 1 to data collected over 60 years ago! However, to get away with this travesty of science the EPA would have to show that all the children who had their IQ lowered in 37 published studies, including the 27 reviewed by the Harvard University team (Choi et al., 2012) had severe dental fluorosis. If they can’t do that then lowered IQ must be considered a more sensitive end point than severe dental fluorosis.
So this is where the final showdown between parents and our health agencies should begin. At the FAN conference Dr. Bill Hirzy a former risk assessment specialist at the EPA, will show that if a standard risk assessment procedure is applied to several of the IQ studies reviewed by the Harvard University, then the only defendable MCLG is ZERO. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has to set an MCLG at a level, which “protects the whole population - including the most vulnerable - from known and reasonably anticipated harm.”
An MCLG of zero would end fluoridation immediately.
On Saturday all attendees of the FAN conference (which we hope will include members of the media and government officials) will hear the details of Hirzy’s calculations which lead to an MCLG of zero. On Sunday we will brainstorm on how Parents Against Fluoridation can take this message to every community in the fluoridated world. On Monday the message will be taken to Congress. Our message to them: learn what we have found out, force the EPA to do its job honestly and the foolish practice of fluoridation can be ended before another child is harmed.
Paul Connett, PhD
Co-author of The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green, 2010).