Water fluoridation and ADHD: Newsweek wades into the quagmire

The following is a guest blog post by Alan Cassels, a pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria and the author of Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease (Greystone, 2012). The opinions are his; you are welcome to your own.

No randomized trial has ever been done to prove if adding fluoride to drinking water reduces cavities. What we know about fluoridating water supplies has come from epidemiologic and ecological studies comparing rates of tooth decay in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated communities.

Even though these limited ecological studies have delivered most of what we think we know about the benefits and harms of fluoridated water, it’s hard to imagine a new study shedding much light on this contentious issue. Marked by acrimony and controversy, the fluoridation debate has become something of a public health quagmire—one that you’d be well advised not to set foot in for fear of getting sucked permanently to the bottom.

And yet Newsweek waded into the quicksand last week with this story reporting on a recent study that adds another potential black mark on fluoride. Or maybe not.  This time the suggestion is that fluoridated water might be unintentionally adding to our epidemic rates of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  The story lays out the association, reported in the journal Environmental Health, very clearly:  “Parents reported higher rates of medically-diagnosed ADHD in their children in states in which a greater proportion of people receive fluoridated water from public water supplies.”

No wild or bombastic claims here, so let’s give Newsweek high marks for avoiding easy sensationalism, even as they might have missed the boat in discussing the research that supports fluoridated drinking water for dental health.  One is left wondering—amid all the ecological and animal studies, the mechanistic or the cohort-based explanations of the dangers of fluoride —is there actually any good evidence to support drinking water fluoridation in the first place?

The story discusses fluoride research with considerable context and history, which tends to deflate the story’s initial assertion that this is the “first time that scientists have systematically studied the relationship between the behavioral disorder and fluoridation.”  Newsweek’s story refers to dozens of studies over the last few decades where water fluoridation has been linked to the state of our teeth, our thyroids, our endocrine systems, and even our IQs. Fluoride, among other chemicals, has been previously described as a developmental neurotoxicant potentially linked to ADHD and other disorders. This is certainly not the first time that fluoride and ADHD have been connected with one another in the scientific literature, and I don’t think it will be the last.

But where does this leave us?  As we know, ecological associations are on the lower tier of the evidence pyramid, and there are dozens of other associations that could affect ADHD rates that have absolutely nothing to do with fluoride. What about kids who live in jurisdictions with school systems incented to ramp up childhood medical diagnoses in order to get more state money for learning assistance workers?  What about those areas that might have overactive ADHD associations, who are very energized to “educate” parents and teachers about the importance of early diagnosis?  With what is largely a socially-constructed disease, blaming everything on a chemical culprit is clearly a little wrong-headed.

The report notes the limitations of such research and appropriately quotes an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, who concludes, “it would be ludicrous to draw a strong conclusion based on this study alone.”

I especially liked the fact the reporter did double time in gathering commentary across a wide spectrum of outside experts, quoting a Harvard epidemiologist, a UMass scientist who studies endocrine disruptors, a pediatrician and researcher at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, an NIH researcher, and a former risk assessment scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Yet that extensive body of commentary seems to be missing one important thing: someone to stand up and say fluoridating our water is ultimately a good thing to prevent cavities.  While it might be hard to track down a CDC official before deadline, the CDC’s website is replete with factsheets (some of them curiously quite dated) supporting community water fluoridation.

Newsweek references a range of prior research and experiments to at least partly explain fluoride’s potential adverse influence on brain development, including how it affects plumbing (fluoride increases absorption of a known neurotoxin, lead, from lead pipes).  People wondering about the breadth of fluoride research are going to learn that there actually is a large body of ecological research that shows links (not causes) between fluoride-induced stained and mottled teeth and lower IQs, as well as references to studies showing geographical links between areas of high concentrations of water fluoridation, effects on thyroid function and lower IQs.

Readers might be disappointed that they can’t draw any conclusions from this kind of research, but I’m reminded about the early research on tobacco. No randomized trials were done to definitively prove the effects of tobacco on lung cancer, and it took forty years of dogged ecologic and epidemiologic research for a strong anti-tobacco public health message to emerge that suggested, but couldn’t prove, a causal connection.

One thing is for sure: this study reminds us that what we know, or think we know, about public health measures might be wrong.  We can’t say this story has gotten even close to the bottom of the truth about the benefits and harms of fluoridating the water supply and its effects on behavioral problems in our children. But in capturing the issue in an engaging and entertaining article, it makes us want to keep asking questions.


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Comments (30)

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Steven Slott

March 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

The ADHD study is like the vast majority of studies cited by fluoridation opponents. It has no merit.

The inherent overall weakness of the study aside, the authors report a positive correlation of fluoridated areas with ADHD. However, they also report a negative, or neutral correlation of what they term to be “naturally fluoridated” areas, with ADHD. Given that there is no difference between fluoride ions which exist in water “naturally”, and those which are added through “artificial” fluoridation, obviously, it is not the fluoride ions which account for the positive correlation.

This leaves the only other variable in regard to fluoridation….the fluoridating compound.. However, peer-reviewed science has clearly demonstrated that, due to immediate and complete hydrolysis of fluoridating compounds upon addition to drinking water, the only substances ingested as a result of fluoridation are fluoride ions, identical to the “natural ones”, and trace contaminants in barely detectable amounts which fall far short of EPA mandated maximum levels of safety. Thus, it obviously is not the fluoridating compounds causing the correlation with ADHD.

Given these easily verified facts, it is clear that the recent ADHD study is irrelevant to water fluoridation, and has no merit.

Steven D. Slott, DDS

    Dan Germouse

    March 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

    I have asked Slott and other forced-fluoridation fanatics many, many times to cite a single good quality original research study which indicates that the forced-fluoridation experiment is anything but harmful and useless, and they can never come up with anything.

      Steven Slott

      March 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm


      Your science denial does not mean that “good quality original research studies” have not been repeatedly cited for you. It simply means that you deny all science which does not agree with your personal ideology against fluoridation. Yet once again, the following are but a few of the countless such studies which clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoridation:

      1)  Results 
      Children from every age group had greater caries prevalence and more caries experience in areas with negligible fluoride concentrations in the water (<0.3 parts per million [ppm]) than in optimally fluoridated areas (?0.7 ppm). Controlling for child age, residential location, and SES, deciduous and permanent caries experience was 28.7% and 31.6% higher, respectively, in low-fluoride areas compared with optimally fluoridated areas. The odds ratios for higher caries prevalence in areas with negligible fluoride compared with optimal fluoride were 1.34 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29, 1.39) and 1.24 (95% CI 1.21, 1.28) in the deciduous and permanent dentitions, respectively. 

      ——Community Effectiveness of Public Water Fluoridation in Reducing Children's Dental Disease
      Jason Mathew Armfield, PhD

      2) CONCLUSIONS: 
      Children with severe dental caries had statistically significantly lower numbers of lesions if they lived in a fluoridated area. The lower treatment need in such high-risk children has important implications for publicly-funded dental care. 

      ——Community Dent Health. 2013 Mar;30(1):15-8.
      Fluoridation and dental caries severity in young children treated under general anaesthesia: an analysis of treatment records in a 10-year case series.
      Kamel MS, Thomson WM, Drummond BK.
      Department of Oral Sciences, Sir John Walsh Research Institute, School of Dentistry, The University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

      3).  CONCLUSIONS: 
      The survey provides further evidence of the effectiveness in reducing dental caries experience up to 16 years of age. The extra intricacies involved in using the Percentage Lifetime Exposure method did not provide much more information when compared to the simpler Estimated Fluoridation Status method. 

      —–Community Dent Health. 2012 Dec;29(4):293-6.
      Caries status in 16 year-olds with varying exposure to water fluoridation in Ireland.
      Mullen J, McGaffin J, Farvardin N, Brightman S, Haire C, Freeman R.
      Health Service Executive, Sligo, Republic of Ireland. 

      4) Abstract 
      The effectiveness of fluoridation has been documented by observational and interventional studies for over 50 years. Data are available from 113 studies in 23 countries. The modal reduction in DMFT values for primary teeth was 40-49% and 50-59% for permanent teeth. The pattern of caries now occurring in fluoride and low-fluoride areas in 15- to 16-year-old children illustrates the impact of water fluoridation on first and second molars. 

      —-Caries Res. 1993;27 Suppl 1:2-8.
      Efficacy of preventive agents for dental caries. Systemic fluorides: water fluoridation.
      Murray JJ.
      Department of Child Dental Health, Dental School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

      5). CONCLUSIONS: 
      Data showed a significant decrease in dental caries across the entire country, with an average reduction of 25% occurring every 5 years. General trends indicated that a reduction in DMFT index values occurred over time, that a further reduction in DMFT index values occurred when a municipality fluoridated its water supply, and mean DMFT index values were lower in larger than in smaller municipalities. 

      —-Int Dent J. 2012 Dec;62(6):308-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1875-595x.2012.00124.x.
      Decline in dental caries among 12-year-old children in Brazil, 1980-2005.
      Lauris JR, da Silva Bastos R, de Magalhaes Bastos JR.
      Department of Paediatric Dentistry, University of São Paulo, Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil. 

      Steven D.Slott, DDS

    Brian Sandle

    March 18, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Steven Slott wrote: “However, they also report a negative, or neutral correlation of what they term to be “naturally fluoridated” areas, with ADHD. Given that there is no difference between fluoride ions which exist in water “naturally”, and those which are added through “artificial” fluoridation, obviously, it is not the fluoride ions which account for the positive correlation.

    This leaves the only other variable in regard to fluoridation….the fluoridating compound..”

    I don’t think you understood, Steve. In this study, “natural fluoride” could be at a mg/l level lower than “optimal fluoridation,” or at a higher mg/l level than “optimal fluoridation.”

    The study said:
    “Artificial water fluoridation prevalence was significantly positively associated with ADHD
    prevalence, while natural water fluoridation prevalence was either negatively or not
    significantly associated with it. Although this could imply that the relationship between
    exposure to fluoridated water and increased ADHD prevalence is specific to fluoridation
    chemicals, the high variability in naturally occurring fluoride concentrations (0.1 mg/L – 15.9
    mg/L) [21] within states prevents this conclusion from being made. Specifically, natural
    fluoride concentration could potentially be confounding the relationship between natural
    fluoridation prevalence and ADHD prevalence leading to a misleading result. For example,
    counties with low natural fluoridation prevalence could have high concentrations of naturally
    occurring fluoride that pose a greater neurodevelopmental risk than high prevalence of low
    concentrations of naturally occurring fluoride.”


    March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

    The industrial byproduct that is usually added to water supplies may undergo hydrolysis, but that doesn’t mean that the non-fluoride portion of it magically vanishes and is “not ingested.” If there’s exactly as much of it in the water, in terms of molarity, as there is of fluoride ion, and there’s enough of the latter to be physiologically important and beneficial, you can’t decree that the quantity of the former is a “trace” that can’t possibly do harm. In any case, there ARE studies showing that excessively high natural fluoride levels are correlated with lower IQ. The studies that include communities with a huge range of natural fluoride levels are mainly from China, and for some strange reason they (and almost everyone else) have far fewer kids labeled with anything like ADHD than we do, so those studies wouldn’t be likely to elucidate, or have been structured to elucidate any effect on its incidence.


      March 25, 2015 at 10:46 am

      When I looked up studies for a public debate In Flagstaff years ago, the studies cited by anti-fluoride groups had many more design flaws (surveys in Utah including wheel chair bound, elderly patients) as or were just half-truths (yes neurotoxicity occurs in vitro but at 100 ppm) or correlations (present ADHD study) presented as causative effects. We do know over 4 ppm fluoride can mottle teeth, but are more cavity resistant. The endemic regions with very high fluoride ( over 5-6 ppm) bone brittleness occurs. If I recall correctly, Yuma which added fluoride to achieve 1 ppm and Flagstaff which refused to add to make 0.7 ppm were compared and Yuma had a better DMF outcome. So even though you can’t design a random study, you can have a large population study that can support hypotheses. Lung cancer and cigarettes were one such study.

    Doug Cragoe

    March 28, 2015 at 3:26 am

    My question is how did the authors define a “naturally fluoridated area.” As another post pointed out, the study mentions a wide range of fluroide levels found. But I dont’ think the authors meant that “naturaly fluoridate areas” include areas with .1 to 15.9ppm. That would mean almost every place that doesn’t have artificial fluoridation is “naturally fluoridated” which hurts the study significantly. So if the authors define “naturally fluoridated” as perhaps from .7 to 1.2ppm then their statements make sense, even if you don’t agree with them.


March 16, 2015 at 10:31 am

One need not be a scientist to understand that it is immoral to medicate everyone without permission.We should be the ones who should be deciding what we put into our bodies and not the federal government or the local government which is putting fluoride into our water. We should control our own destiny.

Those who desire fluoride are welcome to put it in their own glass of water, as much as they wish. Leave the rest of us out of it.

What doctor would prescribe a drug (fluoride) to someone he has not met and without being able to control the dosage or the side effects?

Consider this:
In the US, over 70 % fluoridated.
In Europe, 3%.
In the world, 5%.
Also Israel banned fluoridation last year.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the tooth decay rate in Europe is as good or better than any fluoridated country This shows how ineffective fluoride is for teeth.

    Steven Slott

    March 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm


    The cause and preventive aspects of dental decay are myriad and diverse. To attempt to assess the effectiveness of but one preventive factor, fluoridation, based on a snapshot of WHO data which controls for no other factors, is ludicrous.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

      Dan Germouse

      March 17, 2015 at 5:11 am

      In that case, why do you pretend that the studies you posted above are good quality studies, when they do not control for many potentially important confounding factors? It’s pure hypocrisy.

    Richard Mahony

    March 25, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Nobody’s forcing you to drink fluoridated water. If you don’t want to drink fluoridated water, then don’t. Install a rainwater tank; buy bottled water; put in a water softener unit that uses ion exchange to remove the fluoride; boil and distil the water. All this is much easier to do than building your own fluoridation plant in your back yard.

    Do you ever travel away from home? I hope that when you do, you check out all the local water supplies for their fluoride levels. Remember, many water supplies have natural fluoride levels far higher than the fluoride added by the local water works to water supplies.

    Fluoride has few benefits or harms for adults except when found in excess. For adults, what’s more important is how soft the water is overall, ie the overall mineral content. The softer the water generally, the better for your hair and the worse it is for your heart.

    It is infants and children who benefit most from added fluoride. Moreover, many infants and children need to be protected from the wilful ignorance and stupidity of their parents. Remember that half the US populace, so more than 150 million, has an IQ of less than 100. In addition, the dimmer folks are, the more children they are likely to have.

    The reason that North Americans have some of the best teeth in the world despite drinking sugar drinks all day long is down to one main cause – fluoridation. Yes, extractions and orthodontic braces achieve regularity but without fluoridation, the only thing that such orthodontic regularity would reveal is a line of perfectly lined-up rotten stumps, instead of the chocolate box smile the rest of the world has come to expect.

      Sharon Nibor

      April 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      I live in NYC. I pay water rates and taxes to have fresh clean water delivered to my house. I also pay taxes and 5 million dollars a year is spent on adding a toxic waste product to the clean waters of the adirondacks.
      Why should I have to pay for a water filtration system that takes out a substance that I do not want put in in the first place, and my tax dollars goes into putting it there?!! And if I am below poverty line, and I have a sick infant and need to use formula, I have to pay extra to buy filtered water. This is faulty reasoning. The fluorine element is not a nutrient. It is not safe. It is not efficient as we know that fluorine atoms work on bacteria causing tooth decay topically, NOT systemically.

Dan Germouse

March 16, 2015 at 10:53 am

“Yet that extensive body of commentary seems to be missing one important thing: someone to stand up and say fluoridating our water is ultimately a good thing to prevent cavities.” That comment misses the point. The article was not about teeth. What part of that don’t you understand? It isn’t difficult to find PR goons to parrot lines about how wonderful forced-fluoridation is, but it does nothing to inform the reader, and is not relevant to the subject matter.


March 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Glad to see this blog is generating some energized commentary. Just to respond to your note, Dan, the one thing we like to see in any article discussing the effects of health technology is at least some sense of the benefits and the harms involved. The fact this story interviewed such a wide range of researchers yet couldn’t quote someone to defend the benefits of fluoridation policies seemed quite curious to me. Ultimately fluoridated water is about teeth and as far as I can tell, that’s the only apparent justification for putting the stuff in the water supply.

    Steven Slott

    March 16, 2015 at 4:16 pm


    If you wish to see clear demonstration of the benefits of fluoridation, you have but to read my post above. I cited 5 peer-reviewed studies in that comment and will gladly cite more if you wish.

    In regard to the “harms”, there are none in regard to fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated. Yes, there are toxic effects of fluoride at improper levels, as there are for any substance known to man, including plain water. However, there is no valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence of adverse effects of fluoride at the optimal level. This certainly includes the Malin, et al. ADHD study, which I have discussed above.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    Dan Germouse

    March 17, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Actually, forced-fluoridation is ultimately about the abuse of power and the illegal disposal of industrial pollution. If you think it is really necessary to include comments on teeth in a story about neurotoxicity, then you should have also noted the absence of quotes from a qualified person on dental fluorosis as a biomarker of fluoride toxicity, and the money which is made by dentists cosmetically treating it. Unlike the supposed benefit, dental fluorosis is a proven effect. We also know that fluoride is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for good dental health, and we know that fluoride is a necessary condition for dental fluorosis, and to my knowledge, most likely also a sufficient condition.


March 16, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Science is wonderful but sometimes makes mistakes.

The science of tobacco, DDT, lead in gasoline, thalidomide, and asbestos were wrong.
Science approved the drug, Vioxx, which resulted in 27,785 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths ( FDA data).
The diabetes drug, Avandia, caused 150,000 patients to suffer stroke,
heart failure, bone fractures, vision loss and death. Etc., etc.

When science is wrong, scientists later correct it to reflect the truth.

The 70 year old “science” of fluoride is outdated, discredited and wrong.

Scientists in the last 30 years have shown fluoride is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health.
To see why fluoride is dangerous, Google “Fluoride dangers” and read a few of the over 1,000,000 articles, many by M.D.’s, dentists and medical scientists.

    Steven Slott

    March 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Readers beware. Googling “Fluoride dangers” will lead to filtered and edited “information” posted on antifluoridationist websites and blogs. For those who truly desire accurate information on fluoridation, the websites of the CDC, the EPA, the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, the National Sanitary Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, each has a wealth of accurate, authoritative information on fluoridation readily available to anyone.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

      Sharon Nibor

      April 11, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      If you read the EPA, CDC FDA notes on fluoride, they all comment the same way: more research is needed: Yes you are correct that some studies are correlational – but the authors state that! No RCT studies dose dependent, in the US have been done on the effects of Hexafluorosilicic acid and NaF on the thyroid, osteosarcomas in males, reduced IQ. Studies like “Neurotoxic effects of Sodium Fluoride on rats” proved that more studies need to be done on humans, not bury your head in “0.8 tooth surfaces out of 128 surfaces ” were saved due to water fluoridation. The ADA is a FOR profit association, made up of business people who are not toxicologists or medical doctors. Fluoride treatments are given without first checking the fluoride load of the individual. Fluoride is now in meat, bread, milk, beer, wine raisins and many other foods. Stop towing the party line and do some research on your own rather than reading the re-hashed rhetoric provided by the ADA, who has to buy the URLs “www.fluoridealert.com” and “fluoridealert.net” to trick readers into going to the ADA website instead of the Fluoride Action Network, a site run by researchers, MDs and Dentists, to provide a site to provide original documents that are not cited by the ADA.


March 16, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Case histories and peer reviewed research shows that fluoride can cause harm even at low levels. Some people can experience symptoms from drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride tablets. Symptoms include neurological problems, headaches, skin irritation, gastrointestinal pain, and symptoms (Waldbott 1956, 1958, Feltman 1956, Feltman and Kosel 1961, Grimbergen 1974, Petraborg 1977) These studies are at the top end of the evidence pyramid because they involved individual testing monitoring and placebos. Patients were often unaware that their drinking water contained fluoride. Symptoms improved with avoidance of fluoridated water and returned with consumption of fluoridated water or with experimental challenge with fluoride and confirmed by double blind testing. Doctors aren’t trained to suspect fluoride, so patients may be treated for side effects when all that is needed, is avoidance of fluoridated water. These side effects experienced by some people (1 to 5 % of the population) at low fluoride levels are the same as those that are experienced by most people at high levels of exposure

    Steven Slott

    March 16, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Waldbott was the founder of the antifluoridationist faction, the “International Academy For Fluoride Research”. The journal of this group, “Fluoride”, is highly biased toward antifluoridationist literature and is not even listed on PubMed. A review of Waldbott’s book may be found:


    Grimbergen and Petraborg were 40 year old studies from the journal “Fluoride”, and antifluoridationist biased publication which, as stated previously, is not even listed on PubMed.

    Feltman’s half century old study was completely refuted by the American Academy of Allergies in 1971:

    “The reports of fluoride allergy reviewed (3, 4, 5, 6, 7) listed a wide variety of symptoms including vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, scotomata, personality change, muscular weakness, painful numbness in extremities, joint pain, migraine headaches, dryness in the mouth, oral ulcers, convulsions, mental deterioration, colitis, pelvic hemorrhages, urticaria, nasal congestion, skin rashes, epigastric distress and hematemesis.

    The review of the reported allergic reactions showed no evidence that immuno- logically mediated reaction of the Types I-IV had been presented. Secondly, the review of the cases reported demonstrated that there was insufficient clinical and laboratory evidence to state that true syndromes of fluoride allergy or intolerance exist.

    As a result of this review, the members of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Allergy have adopted unanimously the following statement:

    ‘There is no evidence of allergy or intolerance to fluorides as used in the fluoridation of community water supplies.’ ”

    ——-A Statement On The Question Of Allergy to Fluoride As Used In The Fluoridation Of Community Water Supplies
    American Academy of Allergy 1971

    Feltman and Kosel were #’s 4 and 5 of the reports reviewed by the AAA.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

      Brian Sandle

      March 17, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Steven Slott wrote: “Grimbergen and Petraborg were 40 year old studies from the journal “Fluoride”, and antifluoridationist biased publication which, as stated previously, is not even listed on PubMed.””

      from: https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_the_difference_between_a_journal_indexed_for_pubmed_and_one_indexed_for_Medline

      “Younis Munshi · 4.79 · Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine
      Mr. Farhad you are 100% correct. Since I am reviewer of Elsevier Journal of CTIM and I have seen so many paper of low standard and still they get published. While as high standard papers are being published by non-indexing journals. But one thing is to be taken into consideration that let the publishers strive for keeping the journals online. Indexing hardly matters.”

      Doug Cragoe

      March 28, 2015 at 2:24 am

      So nobody could ever have an allergic type reaction to fluroide supplements? The supplements themselves in the packaging says this is possible.
      “Adverse reactions: Allergic rash and other idiosyncarsies have been rarely reported.” says a sodium fluoride drops container.
      So decades after the allergists dismissed fluoride sensitivity, the fluoride supplement manufacturers are still putting out false information?

      Doug Cragoe

      March 28, 2015 at 3:11 am

      I looked up that 1971 “statement on the question of allergy to fluoride…” that the allergists association put out.

      “The review of the reported allergic reactions showed no evidence that immuno- logically mediated reaction of the Types I-IV had been presented. Secondly, the review of the cases reported demonstrated that there was insufficient clinical and laboratory evidence to state that true syndromes of fluoride allergy or intolerance exist.”

      Maybe the reactions did not fit into Types I-IV, but that does not mean reactions were not presented. Of course they were. That’s what this is all about – reactions to fluoride. So here they may have used tricky wording so they would not have to admit it – by saying since these don’t fit the normal pattern (I-IV) they cannot be called allergic reactions. They never said there were no reactions period.

      The second sentence merely says there is not enough evidence to state that that “true syndromes of fluoride allergy or intolerance exist.” But notice they seem absolutly not interested in finding out if the interance exists. They didn’t call for more studies. They didn’t quote a single study or clinical trial that found no reactions. I wonder if they cared about the people who suffered and still do – they sure didn’t offer any help or suggestions. I bet none of those allergists did any work in this area. This statement probably was done to support fluoridation by people who think that was more important than doing honest science.

      “There is no evidence of allergy or intolerance to fluorides as used in the fluoridation of community water supplies.” But notice they never said there is no evidece of intolerance to fluoride supplements, which the pharmacutical industry has certainly acknowledged for decades in publications and on labels of supplements.

      So then we have the weird situation where reactions to fluoride supplement are acknowledged but the same amount of fluoride in a drink of water supposedly cannot cause a reaction. Or maybe, Steve Slott, you don’t belive anybody ever had a reaction to a fluoride supplement? If so, here’s a federal NIH web page that admits that reactions are possible to the drug fluoride:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682727.html


March 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Dr George Waldbott was a renowned medical doctor and allergist who was the first to document anaphylaxis from penicillin, and the first to make the link between smoking and emphysema This at a time when doctors and dentists appeared in cigarette adverts promoting it, and said lead, asbestos and mercury were safe. He specialized in the research and treatment of allergies. In this field he published several books and more than 200 scientific articles, many in American Medical Association journals. His Health Effects of Environmental Pollutants (2nd edition, March 1978) was used as a textbook in universities in the United States and abroad. Waldbott was a pioneer in the study of allergies, and the founder and chief of allergy clinics in four Detroit hospitals. He was president of the Michigan Branch of the American College of Chest Physicians, Chairman of the Air Pollution Committee and of the American Academy of Allergy. How did the fluoridationists react to the information on fluoride toxicity Waldbott provided? Not in a way you would expect. They attacked him with a vengeance instead of stopping fluoridation and doing more study. Waldbotts findings have been confirmed by dozens of further researchers and thousands of people reporting toxicity symptoms worldwide. The most startling one is the Feltman and Kosel study. They were supporters of fluoridation but were honest fluoridationists unlike today. They received government funding. As soon they became aware of Feltman and Kosel reporting side effects in some people, the government withdrew funding! Then they got the American Academy of Allergy (AAA) to issue a statement essentially endorsing fluoridation without doing any research into fluoride themselves. This statement was then used by fluoridating authorities around the world. Using this statement to negate bona fide research publications without doing careful scientific testing or trials themselves is a dereliction of duty. At the same time the AAA statement was released the PHS announced research grants to 4 of the board members worth $800,000 (worth over 4 million dollars in today). Most of the other board members had previously received funding from the PHS. Contrast this with the PHS withdrawing funding to Feltman and Kosel.

    Kevin Lomangino

    March 17, 2015 at 8:36 am

    I’m glad to see this post generating so many comments. But at this point in the discussion, I would remind everyone about our comments policy: “We will also end any thread of repetitive comments.” This thread has gotten repetitive with its claims and counter-claims about fluoride toxicity. If there’s a new angle to explore, let’s hear it, but otherwise we won’t be approving any new comments from this group of commenters on this issue.

    Kevin Lomangino
    Managing Editor


March 25, 2015 at 11:01 am

Also the metaanalysis paper by Liu and Grandjean is rift with inconsistencies; all in China? The range of fluoride exposure? No other co-factors (arsenic et al.) ? Many questions still remain about this latest outcry


March 25, 2015 at 11:35 am

>>”it took forty years of dogged ecologic and epidemiologic research for a strong anti-tobacco public health message to emerge”

Wrong. By 1954, there was enough science—including 2 massive epidemiological studies and Wynder’s research painting tobacco tars on the backs of mice— to implement “a strong anti-tobacco public health message.” THAT’s why the industry, terrified of what the science was beginning to show about the effects of smoking—hired PR firm Hill and Knowlton to implement an all-out attack on that science, using public relations, campaign contributions, scientific funding (including to the AMA) and placement of “scientific” and opinion items in popular and scientific media. This massive initiative delayed accurate warnings and tobacco control efforts for 40-50 years.

In fact, the tobacco industry was found guilty of racketeering in a federal court, having “lied, misrepresented, and deceived the American public, including smokers and the young people they avidly sought as ‘replacement smokers,’ about the devastating health effects of smoking.”

Moreover, the judge wrote, “they suppressed research, they destroyed documents, they manipulated the use of nicotine so as to increase and perpetuate addiction, they distorted the truth— so as to discourage smokers from quitting.”

For the author of this article to ignore this history is just bizarre.


March 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Kevin, you asked for evidence that fluoridating our water is ultimately a good thing to prevent cavities. To help consumers (and journalists) critically analyze claims about health care interventions, please have a look at Armfield (2010), the first one of the “countless such studies which clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoridation” provided by Steven Slott (who could be considered the “voice of fluoridation”). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2925001

The Abstract says the permanent caries experience was 31.6% higher in low-fluoride areas compared with optimally fluoridated areas.

The actual results say the “absolute magnitude of difference” between the number of decayed, missing, or filled teeth (DMFT) of children living in negligible vs optimally fluoridated areas was 0.25, and this represented a “relative difference” of 31.6%.

Out of a total of 28 teeth, 0.25 of a tooth is an insignificant 1% difference, but using deceptive relative differences, it sounds like a significant 32%.

This is typical of evidence cited to claim the need to fluoridate, including the US government’s biggest (and still the best) study that involved 39,000 schoolchildren who represented over 43 million children aged 5-17 years. It found <1% difference in the number of healthy tooth surfaces, but this has been touted as the ad nauseam claim of a 20% benefit from fluoridated water. – Brunelle JA, Carlos JP. 1990. Recent trends in dental caries in U.S. children and the effect of water fluoridation. Journal of Dental Research. http://www.slweb.org/NIDR-DMFS.html

Here’s an analogy using a fictional IQ study: In a community of non-fluoridated kids, their average IQ was 98, which is 2 points below the national average of 100. In a community of optimally fluoridated kids, their average IQ was 97, which is 3 points below average.

Results: There was a 1% difference in the IQ of kids in low-fluoride areas compared to kids in optimally fluoridated areas. This is an accurate and honest interpretation using the “absolute magnitude of difference.”

In contrast, here’s an inaccurate and deceptive interpretation using “relative differences”: The IQ loss of kids in optimally fluoridated areas was 50% greater than the IQ loss of kids in low-fluoride areas. Or, the IQ loss of kids in low-fluoride areas was 33% less than the IQ loss of kids in optimally fluoridated areas.

Gary Schwitzer

March 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm

To our visitors:

Before anyone enters a comment on this site, we ask that the commenter read our comments policy. https://www.healthnewsreview.org/about-us/our-comments-policy/

That policy explains:

“This site is primarily a forum for discussion about the quality (or lack thereof) in journalism or other media messages (advertising, marketing, public relations, medical journals, etc.) It is not intended to be a forum for definitive discussions about medicine or science.”

The current thread of comments has strayed very far from that clearly-stated intended purpose. The original blog post was about journalism. Nearly all of the comments have not been about journalism.

For that reason, we are closing the comments on this blog post. Anyone who wishes to continue to comment on these issues can find other venues that are intended to provide such a forum.

Gary Schwitzer