The international anti-fluoride movement seems somewhat pre-occupied with thew situation in New Zealand. In the last few months they have unleashed their “big guns” to attack two publications from local scientific researchers. First was their attempt to discredit the paper Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., Ramrakha, S., Moffitt, T. E., Zeng, J., Foster Page, L. A., & Poulton, R. (2014). Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence: Prospective Study in New Zealand. American Journal of Public Health. Now they have produced an “International Peer Review“ of the review Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence. This was commissioned by Sir Peter Gluckman, the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and Sir David Skegg, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand at the request of Auckland City on behalf of several local Councils.
Fluoride Free NZ pretends that the Royal Society Review “was sent out for review by five independent international experts” and a press release from their astroturf organisation the NZ Fluoridation Information Service repeats the independent claim (see NZ fluoridation report trashed by international reviewers).
Well let’s have a look. How independent are the authors of the critique?
An “independent” peer review?
I don’t think so. Here are the authors – chosen by the anti-fluoride movement, of course – together with affiliations and a little history
Kathleen Theissen, Environmental Risk Scientists. I don’t know what the affiliation “environment Risk Scientists,” is. Perhaps a consultancy. However, she is still listed as an affiliate on the Oak Ridge Center for Risk Analysis web site. Theissen was one of the minority* anti-fluoride members on the National Research Council Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water which produced the NRC review “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards.” She frequently writes articles and submissions opposing community water fluoridation
Chris Neurath, Research Director, American Environmental Health Studies Project. Neurath is also the “Research Director,” of Paul Connett’s Fluoride Action Network (FAN). The American Environmental Health Studies Project is really just the Fluoride Action Network in drag with a couple of other similar organisations tied in.
Hardy Limeback, Head of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto. Limeback was also an anti-fluoride minority member of the National Research Council Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water which produced the NRC review “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards.” He is also an anti-fluoride activist who writes often on the issue and a member of the Advisory Board of Paul Connett’s Fluoride Alert Network.
James Beck, a co-author together with Paul Connett of the anti-fluoridation book The Case against Fluoride.
Spedding Micklem, also a co-author together with Paul Connett of the anti-fluoridation book The Case against Fluoride.
So, definitely not independent
This is a serious distortion of the truth by Fluoride Free NZ because they have continual described the authors of the Royal Society Review as not independent. They wrote, for example (see Fluoridation review ‘Dirty Science’ – Fluoride Free NZ):
“The NZ “expert panel” included only people who were already known to be ardently in favour of fluoridation and not one single person who is known to be opposed, or even someone neutral. It was therefore already a foregone conclusion.”
So, I can only conclude that these people define “independent” to mean that they agree with them – they have an anti-fluoride political stance. And they define anyone whose scientific work produces an objectively determine conclusion favourable to the consensus understanding of the effectiveness and safety of community water fluoridation as not independent!
I can only repeat, how do these hypocritical people sleep straight in their bed’s at night.
How valid are their criticisms
OK, so these people are not independent – but how valid are there criticisms. That is another issue. I am preparing a detailed analysis of the claims made in this critique and will post it in the next few days. So, watch this space.
*Three of the 12 members of the committee expressed disagreement with some fo the committee’s conclusions.