Two releases from FFNZ on the comparison between the treatment of Lead and that of Fluoride
Confusion from Pro-Fluoride Group
In a press release last week, the head of pro-fluoride activist group Making Sense of Fluoride, Dan Ryan expressed astonishment that the Royal Society of NZ once supported keeping leaded petrol; Ryan went as far as to deny it. His confusion went further, showing he didn’t understand the difference between a discredited fluoride-IQ NZ study published in 2014, the Lead-IQ study published last week and the Dunedin Longitudinal Study. Ryan also failed to mention the Harvard meta-analysis of 27 international fluoride-IQ studies, published in the Lancet in 2012, which found a drop of 7 IQ points.
The Royal Society of New Zealand published a paper in 1985 concluding that “The emotive and controversial issue of lead was chosen deliberately, as the evidence strongly suggests that lead in petrol does not pose a significant risk to human health” and that “the lead in petrol debate is therefore artificial. It is based on emotive perception of a risk, which, when genuinely quantified is seen to be of a very low order indeed”. Mary Byrne, National Coordinator for Fluoride Free NZ says, “Indeed, this sounds exactly like what they say about fluoride now”.
The Dunedin Longitudinal Study, from which data was extracted for the Lead IQ study as well as the Fluoride IQ study, is one of the most famous studies on human physiology and behaviour in the world. They are studying every aspect of the lives of all 1,038 babies born in Dunedin in 1972, throughout their lives.
The new Lead and IQ study was published last week using childhood blood lead data from the Longitudinal Study. It states that the study children who were exposed to high levels of lead in childhood have a 4 point IQ drop, accounting for about half of the subjects in the Dunedin group.
Byrne says, “It’s astonishing that the lead-IQ drop of 4 points is making headlines, but the Harvard meta-analysis of fluoride-IQ studies finding a drop of 7 IQ points has been ignored by the media and most of our health bureaucrats. Meanwhile, fluoride is deliberately added to drinking water in New Zealand right now”.
Dunedin dentist, Jonathan Broadbent also used data from the Dunedin Longitudinal study for a NZ study on fluoridation and IQ in 2014. His study was harshly criticised by international experts because it did not determine the fundamental factor pertaining to the study: how much fluoride each child was consuming. Broadbent was later forced to admit that half of the children in the non-fluoridated area were taking fluoride tablets, thereby making it impossible to distinguish between the ‘fluoridated’ and ‘non-fluoridated’ groups. A total of 139 children were taking fluoride tablets. He also omitted 11 confounding factors, and didn’t determine the total exposure of the children’s mothers during pregnancy – a key factor according to leading research. There were 939 children in the fluoridated area and 99 in the non-fluoridated area.
The two New Zealand IQ studies on lead and fluoride did use data from the same source, but they are different studies, with different authors, comparing the different neurotoxins’ relationship to IQ. “It’s interesting that Broadbent’s NZ Fluoride-IQ study didn’t account for blood lead level, even though the data was available to him. Excluding this well-known confounding factor further discredits his study,” says Ms Byrne.
There are now a total of 51 human studies and 300 animal studies concluding fluoride causes damage to the brain.
Ryan‘s group would like to see fluoridation extended across the whole of New Zealand, and the decision made by the Director of Health so that local groups could not influence decision makers. Fluoride Free New Zealand believe fluoride ingestion should be an individual choice.
However, Ryan did agree with Byrne that the dangers of lead had been long-known while the Ministry of Health sat on its hands and did nothing. Byrne says, “Fluoride is in the same position lead was when it should have been banned. Brain development of New Zealand children is being put at risk while the Ministry of Health and groups like Making Nonsense of Fluoride bury their heads in the sand and deny the science, just like with lead in petrol”.
Call to Government to Act on Precautionary Principle with Fluoride
“It was petrol in the 70s and 80s – what’s the equivalent today?” presenter Petra Bagust asked on TV3’s programme The Project, which covered this week’s news about lead exposure lowering IQ by more than 4 points.
“The answer is fluoride,” says Mary Byrne, National Coordinator for Fluoride Free NZ. “All of the discussion on The Project applies to fluoride in water.”
Using data from the Dunedin Longitudinal study, the authors concluded that children exposed to lead in the 1960s and 1970s have suffered ‘long term ramifications’ with lower cognitive function, lower socio-economic status at age 38 years and downward social mobility.
Leaded petrol was not banned in New Zealand until 1996, a twenty-six year delay from when researchers first raised the alarm bells.
Public Health Expert, Professor Nick Wilson, was interviewed on the programme and said, “When you are dealing with children’s intelligence, and you’re dealing with a neurotoxin, you really have to prioritise the well-being of children. You should take a precautionary approach so that even if all the evidence is not in, governments need to act.”
“It is astonishing,” says Ms Byrne, “that Professor Wilson is ignoring the research showing fluoride’s harm to the brain, which is mounting virtually by the day. Using his own reasoning, he should be calling for the Precautionary Principle to be applied to fluoridation now.”
According to Professor Connett, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Toxicity, and director the USA-based Fluoride Action Network, “Fluoride is now in the same place as lead was in the 1970s.”
“In humans, 51 out of 58 IQ studies have shown an association between fluoride exposure and lowered IQ. This is a remarkable consistency when you consider that these studies have been conducted by different authors in different geographical areas in four different countries around the world over a period of 22 years. There is also a consistency between animal and human studies – over 30 animal studies show that fluoride reduces the ability to learn and memorise in maze tests.”
Next to the oil industry, the Ministry of Health was the main opponent to removing lead from petrol and were supported by the Royal Society of NZ. “The government has obviously not learnt its lesson and is now refusing to take a precautionary approach to fluoridation despite a growing body of health professionals and scientists calling for a halt to fluoridation,” says Ms Byrne.
A Harvard meta-analysis of the 27 human studies on fluoride and IQ, published in the prestigious Lancet Medical Journal, found that fluoride in water reduced IQ by an average of seven IQ points.
The US Government is currently undertaking studies to try to ascertain at what dose this harm occurs. In contrast, the NZ Government is considering a new fluoridation Bill to increase fluoride exposure.
Fluoridation chemicals also contain trace amounts of lead and other heavy metals also known to be neurotoxins. A number of studies in the past 18 years have found that fluoridation chemicals increase the uptake of lead.
“Surely, if ever there was a time for the Precautionary Principle to be responsibly applied it should be now. Fluoride has been known for a long time as the protected pollutant, but nowadays it should also be known as the protected neurotoxin.”