- Documents Show Officials’ Efforts to Control News of Water Fluoridation Harm to African American
an Stockin does it again (see his media release below). Using the Freedom of Information Act he has obtained all the un-redacted correspondence among those individuals at the CDC, ADA and Pew who were involved in the attempt in May-June of 2011 to “put the lid on” concerns from Civil Rights leaders in Atlanta (former UN Ambassador Andrew Young; the Rev Durley and the niece and daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr) about the disproportionate harm fluoridation is causing Black and Hispanic communities in the US and the failure of the CDC to warn these communities of their extra vulnerabilities to fluoride (“FluorideGate”).
These statements from Civil Rights leaders were of huge concern to fluoridation promoters. According to Dr. Leon Stanislav (who was sent by the ADA to the meeting discussed below), “This is becoming a very large picture (issue, PC) with a movement through the black ministries and, possibly, even as high as the administration.” (p.260)
Having read through the 320 pages of documentation provided by FOIA, it is clear that much of the information has been redacted – 80 pages were blanked out and another 45 pages were partially blanked out. It is puzzling that so much of the discussion on this public health practice is deemed so confidential that it has to be kept hidden from the public. Usually, there are very serious reasons (e.g. national security) why FOIA pages are redacted. However, in this case national security would not apply. So when it comes to the defense of a public health practice the redaction of so much material would seem to fly in the face of the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.
The key event at the heart of the “fluoridation fortress (CDC, ADA, Pew)” response to the Civil Rights’ leaders was a meeting held at Morehouse College in Atlanta on June 1, 2011. The meeting was organized behind the scenes by the PEW Charitable Trusts, but they had no representative at the meeting. (p.259) Those attending were:
Ambassador Andrew Young
Rev. Gerald Durley
Dr. David Satcher (former US Surgeon General)
Dr. John Maupin, Morehouse School of Medicine
Dr. Gwen Keyes Fleming, Administrator Region IV
Dr. Ursula Bauer, Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and health promotion
Dr. Scott Presson – CDC program services
Dr. Gina Thornton-Evans – CDC oral health epidemiologist
Dr. Desmond Williams – lead, Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative
HHS/Office of Minority Health
Dr. Garth Graham –Deputy Assistant Director for Minority Health
Dr. Rochelle Rollins –Director, Division of Policy and Data
Dr. Arlene Lester – Regional Minority Health Consultant
Dr. Elizabeth Lense –State Dental Director
National Dental Association (NDA)
Dr. Sheila Brown, President, NDA
Dr. Roy Irons P-E
Dr. Kim Perry, Chairman of the Board, NDA
Mr. Robert Johns, ED
American Dental Association (ADA)
Dr. Bill Cainon, Pres-Elect, ADA
Dr. Leon Stanislav, former Chairman NFAC
Judy Sherman, Washington DC office, ADA
A noticeable absentee from this list was Dan Stockin, who was invited to attend by Rev. Durley, but was dis-invited en route to the meeting!
Clearly, this meeting was designed to provide only one side of the fluoridation debate to the Civil Rights leaders.
Involved in the discussions before the meeting was Dr. William Maas, former Oral Health Director of the CDC and in 2011 was working for Pew as a consultant. In one of his emails (dated May 6 to Dr. William Bailey the current Oral Health Director at the CDC) he is clearly worried about the ramifications of the number of studies that indicate that fluoride damages the brains of both animal and humans. He writes:
“Bill, you may recall that I suggested some time ago, perhaps even before you were CDO, that we ought to find someone who is ‘the Gary Whitford of brain change or IQ studies.’ If my recollection is correct, some of the very first studies associating fluoride with IQ were refuted by a review of David Locker. Of course his death has ended that source of ongoing rebuttal. I thought it best that we find out the types of people that other divisions of the CDC would use to answer questions about whether substances cause brain alteration. Of course our biases may be entirely different that [sic] other divisions. They may be looking for the slightest evidence that something in the environment is bad for brains, whereas we are only interested in compelling evidence that our favorite substance causes brain changes, and want to minimize the credibility of poorly conducted studies or well-conducted studies that are not relevant.
While I don’t want to completely dismiss the possibility that fluoride in water at levels provided to the public in the US (that would be 4mg/L or less) causes brain changes, IQ changes, etc, I suspect that all of these 130 studies that were mentioned share some common flaws that someone who studies IQ and brain changes for a living would be able to identify and summarize for us, (much as we’ve used Gary Whitford to help us understand the flaws in studies purporting changes to kidney functions, etc.)…”
One notices with this comment a common feature in the activities of the CDC, ADA and Pew. The emphasis is on finding ways to “deny” harm rather than a genuine effort to find out if harm is being caused by this practice. It is 20 years since the first animal studies on fluoride’s neurotoxicity (Mullenix et al, 1995) and subsequent IQ studies were published, why has so little effort been put into research on this issue in the US and other fluoridated countries?
As Dan Stockin concludes in his media release, “Fluoridegate is about officials being more concerned to protect water fluoridation at all costs than protecting the health of the people they serve.”
Source: Press Release: The Lillie Center for Energy & Health Studies | May 20th, 2015 | By Daniel G. Stockin, MPH
- Documents Show Officials’ Efforts to Control News of Water Fluoridation Harm to African Americans
- Black Pastors Group President, Erin Brockovich, Others Call for Fluoridegate Hearing
Federal health officials, in close communication with dental industry representatives, worked feverishly to blunt spread of news that African Americans are disproportionately harmed by drinking fluoridated water, according to recently obtained Freedom of Information Act documents.
The documents show clearly-worried high level Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) employees working with private sector officials after prominent civil rights leaders in Atlanta voiced opposition to water fluoridation.
The documents were released after a nearly four-year wait. Text on a large number of pages was concealed by federal employees prior to release, but the text that is not obscured contains explosive revelations.
A previously uncovered document had shown American Dental Association officials asking Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh for help because they felt the issue of fluoridation harm to minorities had “the potential to gain traction.” The new documents show what happened after this request.
CDC official Ursula Bauer wrote, “HHS is very concerned about the community fluoride situation here in Atlanta getting out of hand and escalating into similar situations across the country.”
In the new documents, officials describe unpublished information in their possession showing African Americans experiencing 61% more “dental fluorosis” than whites (58% vs. 36%). Dental fluorosis is a permanent disfigurement of teeth caused by childhood overexposure to fluorides.
About the civil rights leaders’ statements, CDC’s Dr. William Bailey wrote, “This may be a significant threat, especially if other cities / mayors / councils / legislatures see fluoridation as an intervention that creates fluorosis disparities rather than reducing disparities for tooth decay.”
The revelations draw attention to the back-story behind federal officials’ final recommendation last month to slightly lower the amount of fluoride in fluoridated water, ostensibly to reduce levels of fluorosis that were described “in most cases” as being “barely visible.”
Near CDC’s Atlanta headquarters in Georgia, fluoridation opponent public health professional Daniel Stockin of The Lillie Center for Energy and Health Studies questions why dentists dismiss fluorosis as a largely inconsequential cosmetic condition.
Stockin says, “Before the ‘spin’ that fluorosis is a cosmetic condition, the Journal of the American Dental Association termed fluorosis a pathologic condition. This reflects toxicity to hard tissue teeth. Fluorosis is the tip of the iceberg of what fluorides also do to soft tissues.”
The HHS’ small reduction in water fluoride levels to reduce fluorosis was apparently of questionable effectiveness even to CDC employee Eugenio Beltran.
Referring to HHS calling for a small reduction in fluoride levels in water and use of the water to make infant milk formula, he speculated, “I am not sure if the reduction… in Georgia may produce an effect if there is no change in the feeding patterns.”
He hypothesized that increased fluorosis in African Americans was not due to swallowing more toothpaste, but rather that “higher consumption of fluoridated water earlier in life” could be the cause.
Consumer and environmental advocate Erin Brockovich has called for Fluoridegate hearings, as has Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. The President of the Coalition of African American Pastors, Rev. William Owens, also recently called for hearings.
In a 2006 report, the National Research Council designated kidney patients, diabetics, seniors, children and outdoor workers as “susceptible subpopulations” especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides.
In a letter calling for hearings, Rev. Owens voiced alarm about fluorides. He stated, “There are more patients with kidney disease and diabetes in the black community, and this is all the more reason federal officials should have told us that kidney patients and diabetics are especially vulnerable to harm.”
“Fluoridegate is about officials being more concerned to protect water fluoridation at all costs than protecting the health of the people they serve,” Stockin says.
Reference Links / Sources:
* Ursula Bauer quote, page 267 in FOIA link above; all page citations below also refer to the FOIA link
* 58% fluorosis in African Americans compared to 36% in Caucasians: page 116
* William Bailey quote on fluorosis disparities: page 43
* HHS recommendation to slightly lower fluoride level in fluoridated water systems, referring to “barely visible fluorosis.
* Fluorosis termed a pathologic condition: Journal of the American Dental Association: Floyd DeEds, PhD; April 1936, Volume 23, Issue 4, Pages 568–574
* Eugenio Beltran quote: page 59
* National Research Council susceptible groups: see bottom p.350 & p.351
Daniel G. Stockin, MPH The Lillie Center for Energy and Health Studies (an IRS 501c3 organization) www.nextstagescience.org P.O. Box 1051 Ellijay GA 30540 Ph: 706-502-4348 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org