To the editor:

“Science absolutely requires independence and integrity. Without them science ceases to be science. It becomes a tool to manipulate people.”

-- Dr. Allison Wilson, science director of the Bioscience Resource Project (2015)

There have been several publications this summer that should be of interest to Cape Ann residents. I will post links online.

The first is from Cochrane, an independent global network of researchers and professionals. Their reports are considered the gold standard for evidence-based science and are used to determine sound health care policy. Cochrane published its 2015 review of dental fluoridation literature this June. Like the 2000 York Review, which was also conducted by an independent panel of high-caliber experts, the Cochrane oral health panelists found no evidence that fluoridation benefits the poor, no evidence of safety, and only low-quality, limited evidence of minimal reduction in cavities from poorly designed studies that they characterized as having “high risk of bias.” Cochrane voiced low confidence in this evidence of benefit.

On the other hand, Cochrane did find that the dental fluorosis caused by water fluoridation at 0.7 ppm results in 12 percent of the population feeling disfigured, which likely results in veneers and other cosmetic dentistry for those who can afford it. Newsweek did a feature article on this study with quotes from both the Cochrane and York scientists, as well as others. Predictably, toxicologists and other scientists agreed with the Cochrane findings, while representatives from organizations promoting fluoridation rejected those findings out of hand.

In July, Pew, in association with the Children’s Dental Health Project, published an “Advocacy Report.” Although there are endorsements, there is no mention of science in the Pew publication. The report is part of a marketing push by Pew with the American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to promote fluoridation.

Pew mentions lobbying key stakeholders to “inoculate” them against fluoridation opposition, including getting media to use ADA, CDC and Pew literature in editorials. Pew also writes about its social media push using a “rapid response team” that comments on local papers. Pew quotes two of that team from Florida and Oregon who have been vocal commenters in the Gloucester Daily Times. Pew also emphasizes the importance for proponents to express “anger and outrage” when advocating for fluoridation. If you’ve been following the fluoridation commentary on Cape Ann, you’ll know that fluoridationists seem to have learned that lesson quite well.

However, most interesting to me are the two peer-reviewed studies published this summer, one in Toxicology and the other in Nature. One not only confirmed multiple previous studies that fluoride, even in very low concentrations such as found in water, is an inflammatory agent, but also that it is specifically inflammatory and damaging to the immune system.

The second study confirmed that contrary to prevailing belief, the brain has an immune system susceptible to inflammation. This explains why those with autoimmune disease frequently report neurological complaints and hypersensitivity to chemicals such as fluoride. These two studies combined confirm numerous earlier studies indicating that fluoridation causes or worsens autoimmune diseases from allergies and arthritis to neuropathy and vasculitis.

Folks, this really is a matter of scientific integrity vs. political agenda. The CDC, ADA and dentists do not want to admit they were wrong. Nobody ever does. But it is past time for fluoridationists to put on their big boy pants and agree with 2006 National Research Council panelist on fluoride in drinking water, Dr. Robert Isaacson, who said, “The addition of fluorides to drinking water was, and is, a mistake.”  

Karen Favazza Spencer