Fluoridation: Connett’s criticism of New Zealand research debunked

Community-Water-Fluoridation-and-Intelligence-Prospective-Study-in-New-Zealand-quote

Paul Connett, Executive Director of the Fluoride Action Network recently made a presentation to Dever Water opposing community Water Fluoridation (CWF). Many of his claims were just wrong – he seriously distorted the science and used this to misinform the board members.

I am posting a series of articles debunking his claims. But Daniel Ryan from Making Sense of Fluoride has also entered the fray with his article Dr Connett distorts the Dunedin IQ fluoride study. I urge readers to check out the article.

Daniel is debunking claims made by Connett about the New Zealand research 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, 105(1), 72–76.

That study is a thorn in Connett’s side because it completely refutes his claims that CWF causes a drop in IQ. It is an excellent paper (as well as being a New Zealand one) – which is another thorn in Connett’s side as he relies on poor quality studies made in areas of endemic fluorosis for his claims.

Daniel goes through Connett’s assertions about the New Zealand study and debunks each of them in turn.

The Broadbent et al. (2014) study investigated a situation where low fluoride concentrations were used. It is the only in-depth study of IQ at these low concentrations. However, I did make a brief investigation of the situation in the USA comparing the average IQ for each state with the percentage fluoridation coverage of the population in each state. I reported that in IQ not influenced by water fluoridation.

The figure below shows the data – and there is no statistically significant correlation of IQ with CWF (the dotted lines show the 95% confidence boundaries)..

Connett debunked once again.

See also:

Connett misrepresents the fluoride and IQ data yet again
Fluoridation: Connett’s naive use of WHO data debunked

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52 responses to “Fluoridation: Connett’s criticism of New Zealand research debunked

  1. Even Grandjean and Choi were forced to publicly admit that the 27 Chinese “IQ” studies were too flawed to use them to make any assessment about fluoridated water in the US. Does that stop Connett and his minions from doing so, anyway? Of course not. That would mean they would need to somehow develop some integrity.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    Like

  2. LOL – Broadbent didn’t even realise that Christchurch had never been fluoridated . . . very reliable – NOT!

    Like

  3. Broadbent has not replied to my 30 Dec 14 emails:

    Hi Johnathan,

    Thanks for the study: “Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence:” in which you set out to improve upon other studies.

    We are in the submission period (closing Jan 10) for whether water fluoridation should be classed like a medicine. I am sending you these questions before I form my understanding of whether the classification may assist some proportion of individuals. Maybe it can be done as food labelling for persons who may experience shock reaction to certain foodstuffs. Though I do not think that is so developed as data sheets for drugs, like anaphylactic shock from penicillin.

    Currently I am looking for whether fluoridation may skew distribution of IQ.

    I note that your results do not appear discuss any skew. I also note you have given your measurements at the middle of your confidence intervals.

    Since you do adjusted estimates it would be really interesting to see your distributions of control and experimental groups.

    I also note you do not mention as an adjustment factor any consideration of toxic constituents of “control’ water maybe coming from headwaters from the former mining district of Taieri.

    Further matters:

    This explains skewness and kurtosis: http://www.uky.edu/Centers/HIV/cjt765/9.Skewness%20and%20Kurtosis.pdf
    The Wang figures give greater negative skewness for lower fluoride. To me I wonder if that means high fluoride improves intelligence in the low range or whether it means more in the low range die from some cause. The kurtosis seems to say high fluoride gives fewer IQs in the mid range, they are more spread out.

    Are you able to give any more data on those who did not survive to the adult study?

    Thanks from Brian Sandle

    Like

  4. Gee, “soundhill”, I can’t imagine why Broadbent did not respond to an antifluoridationist seeking to have optimal level fluoride classified as a “medicine” so that it could then be put under the restrictions and demands of medications, totally unwarranted for this level of fluoride in water……

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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  5. Greenbuzzer
    “Christchurch had never been fluoridated”

    Before Christchurch merged into one city, one part, Waimairi County, had fluoridated water.

    It looks like you need to do your research

    Like

  6. Steve Slott: “totally unwarranted for this level” and just trust us which is not what science is about.

    Like

  7. Soundhill

    …….or just trust antifluoridationists who seek to impose their personal ideology onto entire populations through such transparent back door ploys as declaring a mineral which has been in water forever, to suddenly be a “medicine”.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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  8. Steve, fluoride as in fluoridation used to be classified as a medicine in line with many products intended to heal health problems. Unlike vitamins which are called food supplements, fluoride is aimed at a particular medical condition for which it is claimed to be effective. If a vitamin is claimed to heal it has to be tested and proven. The easy way out for fluoride as in fluoridation, when the proof was not the best, was to legislate it is no longer a medicine, even though still claiming it to be a healing agent. It is so ineffective compared to other ways to prevent tooth decay as we have seen in comparative studies over decades. And it looks like, unlike other areas of science, you don’t have to produce your figures to back your theory up.

    Like

  9. Soundhill

    1. Fluoride has always existed in water in the concentration range as it exists in optimally fluoridated water. The amount of fluoride added to raise the existing up to the optimal level of 0.7 ppm, is frequently less than the amount which already existed in the water in the first place.. To declare this fluoride to suddenly be a “medicine” is nothing but a ludicrous, transparent ploy to impose antifluoridationist ideology upon entire populations.

    You are certainly free to yet once again waste court time and resources attempting that ploy. However, given the zero success it has had through the decades, I don’t much like your chances with that.

    2. There are no “comparitative studies” which demonstrate any dental decay prevention measure to be anywhere near as effective and inexpensive as is water fluoridation in the reduction of dental dental decay in entire populations.

    3. The dental decay prevention of fluoridation is not a “theory”, obviously. It is a documented fact. I will gladly cite as many peer-reviewed studies as you would reasonably care to read.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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  10. Steve, the theory I speak of is the one of Broadbent.

    It was not a matter of suddenly calling fluoridation a medication, but stopping calling it a medication which it had been called previously.

    Ken’s recent post showing the graphs for Ireland are evidence that fluoridation was not doing anything like the protection of teeth of other things improved over 20 years.

    Like

  11. Soundhill

    1. Broadbent did not present a “theory”. He provided a peer-reviewed scientific study, published in a highly respected scientific journal. This study debunked Paul Connett’s claims of IQ reduction of fluoride which he bases on inadequately controlled, methodologically questionable studies of questionable, if any, peer-review, with key information missing, dug out of obscure Chinese journals.

    2. Once again……Fluoride has always existed in water in the concentration range as it exists in optimally fluoridated water. The amount of fluoride added to raise the existing up to the optimal level of 0.7 ppm, is frequently less than the amount which already existed in the water in the first place.. To declare this fluoride to suddenly be a “medicine” is nothing but a ludicrous, transparent ploy to impose antifluoridationist ideology upon entire populations.

    3. Once again….There are no “comparitative studies” which demonstrate any dental decay prevention measure to be anywhere near as effective and inexpensive as is water fluoridation in the reduction of dental dental decay in entire populations.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    Like

  12. Brian – you are clutching at straws when you say “Ken’s recent post showing the graphs for Ireland are evidence that fluoridation was not doing anything like the protection of teeth of other things improved over 20 years.”

    Care to comment in a similar vein on the far more complete data set for NZ in the graphs I presented.

    You are just again attempting to divert attention away from what these posts show – Connett is dishonestly misrepresenting and distorting the data to support his unscientific claims.

    Like

  13. Ken your NZ graphs only cover 10 yr.
    Thanks for data link though it only goes back to 1990. Your Ireland graph shows levelling mid 1990s and this is what I get for 5-year-olds, only about 0.6 less missing or filled teeth.

    We should have continued doing more of the same which was doing the faster reduction to early 90s here in both F an NF areas.

    1990 1.72 F 2.33 N
    1991 1.73 F 2.36 N
    1992 1.70 F 2.28 N
    1993 1.61 F 2.21 N
    1994 1.47 F 2.19 N
    1995 1.43 F 2.01 N
    1996 1.31 F 1.89 N
    1997 1.37 F 2.04 N
    1998 1.45 F 2.03 N
    1999 1.47 F 2.11 N

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  14. It is not my Ireland Graph, Brain – it is the WHO data used by Connett for Ireland – except he covered uop the differences between fluoridated and unfluoridated area by using an average.

    Sneaky, eh?

    And you continue to avoid confronting this dishonesty on Connett’s part – that is why people see you as having an unhealthy regard for the man – considering him your hero!🙂

    My point about the WHO data was its scarcity – it is an extremely poor set to draw any conclusions from. In fact, there will be data for the separate countries, including Ireland. You are placing an incredible amount of reliance on 2 or 3 data points to imagine the rate of decline. In contrast, the NZ data was yearly and showed that at least in the last few decades there is not the same overall decline. That is the sort of thing one can see with more detailed data – using just 2 data points is a great way of distorting data. Remember the claims being made about antarctic ice coverage.

    I personally suspect hat more detailed data would not show a linear graph of the sort Connett uses – but an initial more rapid decline followed by relatively constant levels of decay. It could be that the initial advances in social and dietary health have leveled out and it is silly to think such declines can continue. However, the benefits of CWF are clear. And on a cost effective basis they are obviously desired. The cost of alternative methods for reducing decay by similar amounts would probably be much greater

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  15. Ken you have made points about Connett and I have not disagreed, but set out to look at where he is getting people to go even if the logic is wrong.

    Here is Te Ara trying to get dental action by comparing our dental health with other countries, but not acknowledging the change since 1990 which will be across all countries.
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/graph/30604/the-state-of-new-zealanders-teeth

    My graph from their data. The left of the graph with longer blue bars indicating closer to the present (- more years since 1990.)

    So maybe they will action going but on a wrong basis if it is fluoride.

    Brian Sandle

    Like

  16. So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    >

    Like

  17. So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    Like

  18. Steve Slott: “The amount of fluoride added to raise the existing up to the optimal level of 0.7 ppm,”
    Beaten down under protest.
    “Broadbent did not present a “theory””
    I think you mean “hypothesis.”
    “He provided a peer-reviewed scientific study, published in a highly respected scientific journal.”
    “http://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/statements/retraction-of-articles-from-springer-journals/735218

    Like

  19. 1. “Beaten down under protest”

    To my knowledge there is nothing in regard to fluoridation which has been “beated down” under protest, or otherwise. Perhaps you have your blogs confused.

    2. “I think you mean “hypothesis.”

    Yeah, okay, if that’s how you wish to term it. In that case, Broadbent debunked Connett’s unsubstantiated “hypothesis” about IQ reduction.

    3. “http://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/statements/retraction-of-articles-from-springer-journals/735218″

    It appears from your link that Springer is performing due diligence. This is, of course, of no relevance to Broadbent. However, hopefully, the Malin, Peckham, and Grandjean/Choi studies are all on Springer’s list. They certainly need to be.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    Like

  20. This is something you should clarify, Brian, as it is potentially slanderous.

    Are you claiming that Broadbent’s paper is one of the 64 articles being retracted from 10 Springer journals because their peer-review process was compromised by unethical manipulation?

    If not, you should withdraw your comment.

    If you are to persist with the comment you should back it up with evidence.

    Like

  21. The American Journal of Public Health is not a Stringer journal. It is published by the American Public Health Association which has close links with the CDC. I think the tone of the article is promotion.

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  22. Forget the squirrels, answer the question

    So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    Like

  23. You think the Stringer  articke is a promotion, Brian?? Surely that is urrelevant – but i take it are now backing away from your implied slander of the Otago study paper?

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  24. Broadbent: “Breastfeeding was
    defined as breastfeeding for 4 weeks or more.”
    “Breastfeeding was associated with higher child
    IQ irrespective of residence in CWF areas”

    But when I look at the figures there are 6.2 IQ points difference in the fluoridated area vs 4.3 IQ points difference in the non-F area.

    Misleading.

    Like

  25. Brian, do you need someone to explain to you what the statistical analysis showed about breastfeeding?

    You seem to be confused. Or are you attempting to confuse the issue again?

    Anything to avoid confronting the fraudulent claims made by Connett.

    Like

  26. Before I look in more detail about what Connett says about Broadbent I need to know about it myself.

    Broadbent: Fluoridated area non-breast-fed are 6.2 IQ points lower. p<0.001. Non-F area: non-breast-fed are 4.3 IQ points lower. p=0.049. A 44% difference. Hard to argue out of.

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  27. Think about it, Brian – what is the 95% CI for your 44%?

    You are again in avoidance mode. Any diversion to avoid facing up to Connett’s fraudulent claims.

    Like

  28. Help me with this:

    http://vassarstats.net/dist2.html
    For the F area 460 nbf, 429 bf, take sd 13.5, so sd of difference = 0.8859

    NF area nbf 45, bf 54, take sd as 13.9
    sd of difference 2.8056.

    95% or a little more of the values fall within 2 sd.
    or 1.7718 F and 5.6112 NF.
    As percents of the differences of 6.2 and 4.3

    28.6% and 130%.

    For division add the errors
    158.6% of 1.44 or
    + or – 2.28.

    I think Broadbent have not proved no difference, just that they could not prove a significant difference.

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  29. We are back to thinking about the COMT gene.

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  30. Brian, you are pathetic – anything to avoid facing up to the fact your hero Connett is fraudulent and in the process you attempt to find faults in genuine reach. But only expose your one weaknesses.

    Your last few comments are just meaningless.

    >

    Like

  31. Brian won’t answer Ken’s question

    So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

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  32. Ken: “Your last few comments are just meaningless.”

    Sorry a bit brief with the COMT comment. This here should be worth getting the whole article. It compares IQ, F at 0.6 and 1.4 mg/L and adds effect COMT genetic differences.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25556215

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  33. Ken: “So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations? ”

    I have been trying to show it is a common thing to do. If he is doing that he is nothing out of the ordinary.

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  34. Another sidestep, but a piss poor one.

    Answer the question.

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  35. “A common thing to do!”

    Well, Brian, common to you and Connett – I guess.

    But people in glasshouses should refrain from throwing storms like the pathetic “criticisms” you make of the Broadbent study.

    Currently Hirzy, Connett & Kennedy are attempting to get a paper published using the Xiang et al data. So far it has been rejected twice. I guess this dishonesty is counterproductive.

    >

    Like

  36. And therein lies one of biggest problems with antifluoridationists. They see nothing wrong with posting lies and misrepresenting science. Then when this is exposed, they claim “corruption”, whine about personal attacks, and claim that those who have exposed the lies are themselves liars. It gets truly comical, especially in comment sections where they seem oblivious to the fact that all of their comments are still in plain view to everyone.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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  37. If any of you have read the COMT paper you are keeping very quiet about it.

    Significant negative correlations between urinary and serum fluoride and IQ. A slight positive partial correlation (0.11) of water fluoride to IQ but p=0.08. I know you don’t like my brainstorming for better things but that makes me wonder if
    IQ is better when fluoride is going to the bones rather than serum or urine. Here is an example of higher IQ associated with brittle bones: https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=y5LLPVTu_QwC&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=iq+brittle+bones&source=bl&ots=UHDrOhTA1g&sig=2bhLubG9qfIsye4cL4EzeGyyjxY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFEQ6AEwCWoVChMI4dvv-te4xwIVgeamCh1dPgRp#v=onepage&q=iq%20brittle%20bones&f=false

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  38. Actually, Brian, you have kept very quiet about it yourself. As it stands there is nothing to discuss.

    However, how about giving us a link to the full text and I will have a read some time.

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  39. Some points about correlation to watch out for:
    i) “if you used height, weight and leg length, you would find that once you REMOVED the correlation between height and weight, leg was no longer strongly correlated with weight. That is because leg length and height are so strongly correlated, that once you removed the correlation with height and weight, nothing was left for leg length.”
    Whereas legs do contribute to weight.

    Please relate to what I wrote: “A slight positive partial correlation (0.11) of water fluoride to IQ but p=0.08.” Where the water fluoride may be the “leg length” contribution to weight, overshadowed by the “height” i.e urinary and serum fluoride.

    ii) Speed at which paint dries, depending on whether a heater is used?
    If the climate is hot then paint dries fast without a heater.
    Please think again about your graph above. Liken the hot climate to natural fluoride greater than artificial fluoridation level, and the fluoridation, if it is applied, to the heater.

    You should have only included in your graph those places not naturally “hot” for fluoride. Because the fluoridation level can be “cooler” than natural fluoride level.

    As for the link to the whole article whose abstract is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25556215, please check your old files from April, you may already have it.

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  40. Oxford Journals charge a thousand dollars or more to make an article open access.

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  41. So let”s get this straight Brian.

    You admonish other readers here for not discussing a link to an abstract of a paper. One which you have not read (I gather this from your inability to provide a link to the full text) and did not comment on yourself.

    Instead you burble on about arms and legs and paint drying!

    And still,you criticise me for some unidentified graph for not I clung “hot” and “cold” fluoride!

    All this to avoid, or divert attention away from, the elephant in the room – Connett’s dishonest and fraudulent claims!

    >

    Like

  42. Ken “You admonish other readers here for not discussing a link to an abstract of a paper. One which you have not read (I gather this from your inability to provide a link to the full text) and did not comment on yourself.”

    We were discussing it in April on a previous take on Connett, and you read it before I did. I don’t know if you have access through some institution or paid $7.50 (soon going up to $10 here) to interloan it as I did. Interloaning does not allow a copy to be made.

    “Instead you burble on about arms and legs”

    I don’t think we finished the discussion in April.

    You claimed that there was no correlation of fluoridation to IQ demonstrated. Zhang also agreed that his study could not demonstrate that, but also it could not rule it out. The correlation you commented on was a *partial* correlation. Sometimes it helps people to understand issues with a parallel example.

    “and paint drying!

    And still,you criticise me for some unidentified graph for not I clung “hot” and “cold” fluoride!”

    Ken you only did one graph in the main part of this article.

    Not hot and cold fluoride, but hot and cool *for natural fluoride
    level.*

    “All this to avoid, or divert attention away from, the elephant in the room – Connett’s dishonest and fraudulent claims! ”

    No, Ken to examine the logic of your criticism.

    Brian Sandle

    Like

  43. When getting together data for your graph: https://openparachute.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/fl-iq.jpg?w=1000&h=828
    You should have excluded places with naturally occurring fluoride levels equal to or greater than artificial fluoride levels.
    In each region they may tend to be places at lower altitude where water has had the chance to run through mineral-bearing deposits.

    Like

  44. Brian still won’t answer Ken’s question

    So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    You’d be justified in concluding Brian is a dishonest scumbag.

    Like

  45. Brian, you have no doubt🙂 written to Till and Malin to critique them for using this similar approach. Anything to avid confronting the elephant in the room – Connett’s dishonesty and fraudulent distorting of the science.

    >

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  46. Ken I wrote to Malin and Till about fractional urinary fluoride excretion.

    As I suggest to you I think that not excluding the high natural fluoride areas from their study would have reduced correlation between ADHD and fluoridation. But I didn’t write about that.

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  47. But when other important factors are included in the ADHD regressions there is no significant correlation with % fluoridation. So why should one play with the data in the way you suggest when fluoride does not appear to be involved/Why bother?

    Surely serious researchers are more interested in looking at the detail of factors that are significantly correlated.

    Like

  48. Be interesting to try to find out the ADHD picture before the 1950s or so when fluoridation started in various places. Did natural fluoride, easterly longitude and lower altitude trend with any sort of AHDH then?

    Lower altitude goes roughly with longitude in USA. That will be less vitamin D as well as more fluoride.

    The 1950s was bath once a week and maybe share the water. So less washing off of vitamin D or its precursors. Children walked or biked to school more.

    Also there was less cannabis about,both use by kids and by pregnant mums.

    I gave the height/leg length/weight example to caution about drawing conclusions too readily from partial correlation. It is a pretty simple formula purporting to bring about the magic.

    I also hope you have been going to rank correlations for distributions which are not on a bell-shape Gaussian curve. Link to Kendall partial rank correlation:

    http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/canterburyissues/messages/topic/2qAuAdiG2bBVyDb5V9fU4a

    Like

  49. Brian won’t answer Ken’s question

    So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    Like

  50. Richard as usual wanting an all or nothing scenario. Give me the first bit of Connett to start discusssing. I need clarification of Ken’s pointer to Connett’s categorising trouble.

    Like

  51. Richard as usual wanting an all or nothing scenario.

    Nah, just an answer. Brian won’t answer Ken’s question

    So, Brian, you do agree with me that Connett is dishonestly misinterpreting and distorting the evidence in his presentations?

    Like

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