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Fluoride Free New Zealand: Dirty Science

Dirty Science

Media release, Wellington, 23 August 2014

Last week we had Dirty Politics this week we have Dirty Science.

A “review” of fluoridation published yesterday (22nd August) was chaired by committed fluoridationists Professors Peter Gluckman and David Skegg. Both of these men had already hung their hat on the fluoridationists’ mantra of “safe and effective”.

It is obvious that this review was set up to allay the growing public concern and awareness that fluoride does cause harm, rather than actually deal with science. This was PR not science, in other words, dirty science.

Last year Prof Gluckman issued an advisory stating that “the science was settled” and two weeks ago he said on Radio NZ that the Review would be looking at "what we know about the safety and efficacy of fluoride in water." He didn’t say they would be examing the research that shows that fluoride is harmful and perhaps not even effective.

Less than two years ago, Prof Skegg claimed that there was no new evidence to require a review of fluoridation, in spite of the two most prestigious international reviews in history (The York Review 2000 and the National Research Council 2006) saying there was a dire need for better scientific information.

The NZ “expert panel” included people who were already known to be in ardently favour of fluoridation and not one single person who is known to be opposed, or even someone neutral. These included, notably, Gregory Seymour who, as Head of the Otago Dental School, refused the Dental Students’ Association’s request to hear scientific evidence against fluoridation on campus by an international expert, and Murray Thomson, who is the Editor of the NZ Dental Journal and author of pro-fluoridation papers. It was therefore already a forgone conclusion.

One surprise is that the review has gone so far as to claim that fluoridation works systemically (i.e. by swallowing) before teeth erupt. This belief was not only scientifically discredited 15 years ago by the US Public Health Service’s Centers for Disease Control, but has also been acknowledged as wrong in court in sworn affidavits by Health Ministry representatives and is contrary to what the top consultant to the Ministry of Health’s National Fluoridation Information Service told the Hamilton City Council last year.

The Gluckman-Skegg review does not cite a single piece of research showing adverse health effects from fluoride, out of the dozens provided to the Royal Society in 2012, and the hundreds, if not thousands, in existence.

This review should be viewed against the recent background of the Health Minister of Israel banning fluoridation last week and the admission by Dr Michael Beasley, the Deputy Director of the NZ National Poisons Centre, that “the jury is still out” regarding fluoride’s claimed safety, and yet another international study showing that fluoridation reduces IQ. This joins 47 other studies, ignored by the Gluckman-Skegg review, against the bogus “Dunedin IQ study” which does not identify individual fluoride exposure, but which is quoted in the summary as if it was one of the most important studies.
The reality is that this “kangaroo review” is just a “finger in the dyke”, trying to hold back the inevitable demise of this failed policy. The weight of scientific evidence is that fluoridation is not only ineffective, it poses major health risks, as known since the 1940s.

Fluoride Free New Zealand calls for an independently chaired open public discussion of all the science about fluoridation.


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