Anti-fluoride and anti-vaccination activists suffer from a common activist fallacy – they believe their own propaganda. They also have a network of “natural”/alternative health industry internet sites and magazines to disseminate these beliefs and propaganda. A glaring example is a smug article, The End of Fluoridation Is in Sight, published on the Mercola.com alternative health, anti-vaccination site.
The uninformed reader looking at these alternative health industry sources might be excused for thinking that community water fluoridation (CWF) is about to end. That the scientific evidence against it is damning. But, of course, those conclusions are wrong – the science supporting CWF remains strong and the few studies activists use to argue against CWF have big flaws.
Actually, the situation is even worse than that. The studies commonly cited by anti-fluoride activists actually support CWF when they are read properly. Activists are unaware of this because they rarely read the studies they cite – most don’t get past the title, let alone the abstract, and certainly don’t bother with the real content. And they never subject these studies to critical analysis.
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has collected together all the studies they argue show CWF is bad for children’s brains in a single list – “FLUORIDE & IQ: THE 65 STUDIES.” I have completed a detailed analysis of all the 65 studies and my full analysis is available for download as the document Analysis of FAN’s 65 brain-fluoride studies.
In fact, none of these studies in FAN’s list provides any credible evidence that CWF is harmful to child IQ. On the contrary, these studies either assume or provide evidence that fluoride at the concentrations used for CWF is harmless.
I will summarise my findings of these studies in a series of upcoming articles as my health permits (I have just spent a couple of stressful weeks in hospital).
- Difference studies – a simple comparison of cognitive measures in people living in “low fluoride and “high fluoride” areas. Forty-six studies made in areas of endemic fluorosis – India, China, Mexico, Iran, and Sudan. All these studies implicitly assume no negative health effects at fluoride concentration relevant to CWF
- Three difference studies relevant to CWF where populations in non-fluoridated and fluoridated areas are compared. All these studies show no effect of CWF on child IQ.
- Studies which derive relationships of cognitive measurements with fluoride exposure in areas of endemic fluorosis. Six of these studies include enough data for testing if there is a statistically significant effect at concentrations relevant to CWF – there is no effect observed in all these cases.
- Three studies deriving relationships for cognitive measurements with fluoride exposure in low fluoride areas where concentrations are relevant to CWF. These controversial studies involve considerable statistical manipulations and activists cherry-pick a few statistically significant relationship but ignore the many more non-significant relationships.
Read my article Analysis of FAN’s 65 brain-fluoride studies if you want the detailed analysis. Otherwise, just follow my summaries in future posts.