Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pew Foundation Misleads Legislators about Fluoride

A 7/2/2013 letter signed by Shelly Gehshan of the Pew Foundation to The Dalles, Oregon, Mayor and City Council contains many falsehoods. The most egregious is her dismissal of  Harvard research showing a link between fluoride and lower IQ.  Gehshan wrote the following:
“anti-fluoride groups claim that fluoride causes lower IQ scores in children, but many of the studies they cite were from areas in China, Mongolia and Iran in which the natural fluoride levels were at least four or five times higher than the level used to fluoridate water in The Dalles.  One study including fluoride levels that reached as high as 11.5 milligrams per liter – a concentration that is roughly 10 times higher than the level that is used to fluoridate American communities. In addition, the Harvard researchers who examined these IQ studies found that each of the studies “had deficiencies, in some cases rather serious, which limit the conclusions that can be drawn.” 17 Furthermore, the Harvard researchers publicly distanced themselves from the way that anti-fluoride groups were misrepresenting these IQ studies.18  Anti-fluoride groups also ignore historical evidence that undermines their claim – between the 1940s and the 1990s, the average IQ scores of Americans improved 15 points while fluoridation steadily expanded to serve millions of additional people 19.”
When Gehshan writes, “the Harvard researchers (Grandjean et. al)  publicly distanced themselves from the way that anti-fluoride groups were misrepresenting these IQ studies,” she uses an error-laden Wichita KS newspaper article as a reference which some believe was ghost-written by Pew’s fluoridation Public Relations employee.  

The truth is that Harvard scientist, Philippe Grandjean, MD, states the newspaper never "checked their information with the authors, even though statements were attributed to them."

Dr. Philippe Grandjean, the senior scientist on the Harvard team, criticized the Wichita paper for deceptively attributing its own conclusions on fluoridation to the Harvard scientists. Fluoridation's potential to produce "chemical brain drain," Grandjean writes, is an issue that "definitely deserves concern."

Grandjean also takes objection to the Wichita paper's claim that the Harvard review only looked at studies that used "very high levels of fluoride." The Wichita paper conveyed this impression by focusing on a single, cherry-picked study (Hu 1989) that was never published, nor even included in the Harvard review.

The truth, Grandjean writes, is that "only 4 of 27 studies" in the Harvard review used the high levels that the Wichita paper described, and "clear differences" in IQ "were found at much lower exposures."

Grandjean identifies fluoride is one of 213 known brain-toxic chemicals that may lower the intelligence of generations of children, in his new book, “Only One Chance: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development,”

EPA lists fluoride as having “Substantial Evidence of Developmental Neurotoxicity.”
When environmental chemicals affect developing brains, children risk cognitive deficits, learning disabilities, mental retardation, ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disorders that will remain for a lifetime, says Grandjean. 

Fluorides are known to cause brain toxicity and neurological symptoms in humans,” Dr. Grandjean says. He laments that vested interests often manipulate brain-drain research and manufacture uncertainties to wrongly discredit scientists’ conclusions and credibility.
Vested interests caused decades to pass before children were protected from the brain-damaging effects of lead exposure reported in the literature. We unnecessarily lost a generation to lead-induced brain damage, reports Grandjean.

When Grandjean’s research team published a careful review of studies (meta-analysis) linking fluoride to children’s lower IQ, worried fluoridation promoters and regulators immediately and incorrectly claimed that only excessive exposures are toxic, the effect is insignificant, decades of fluoridation would have revealed brain deficits (although nobody looked, yet), and that it was probably lead and arsenic that lowered IQ, not fluoride.  Example here

“When such a misleading fuselage is aimed at the authors of a careful meta-analysis of 27 different studies, what would it take to convince critics like that,” asks Grandjean.

Thirty-seven human studies now link fluoride to children's lowered IQ, some at levels considered safe in the US. See: and that no research on fluoride’s human brain effects have ever been conducted in the US

We don’t understand why Pew continues to distort the truth.