The coalition that is promoting water fluoridation in Portland has published a video that I found quite interesting: Portland Fluoride: Facts Vs Fiction.
The video features Portland Pediatrician Dr. Phil Wu at Kaiser Permanente, and he debunks false and misleading anti-fluoride claims—according to the description. Dr. Wu addresses claims made by another pediatrician, Dr. Yolanda Whyte, and I encourage you to watch the video and then read on!
Therefore, I was surprised by Dr. Wu's dismissal of the research that associate fluoride with reductions of children's intelligence. Let me quote directly from the video, starting at 3 minutes and 4 seconds:
Dr. Whyte says:
My concern is based in part in a large body of research finding that modestly elevated levels of fluoride can reduce a child's intelligence.Dr. Wu responds:
This may be the most serious misrepresentation of all. This article, often cited by anti-fluoride activists, reviewed studies from China, Mongolia and Iran, including water samples in which the natural fluoride levels were 400 to 1200 percent higher than the recommended level for fluoridating water in the U.S. The Harvard researchers who examined these fluoride IQ studies took the unusual step of publicly distancing themselves from the claims that anti-fluoride groups were making about these studies.The video then shows the following quote:
|Harvard scientists: Data on fluoride, IQ not applicable in U.S.|
"These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding
possible levels of risk at levels
of exposure typical for
water fluoridation in the U.S.,"
On his blog, Dr. Grandjean spells out something that I think should be hard to miss for anyone who has read and understood the Harvard study:
Chemical brain drain should not be disregarded. The average IQ deficit in children exposed to increased levels of fluoride in drinking water was found to correspond to about 7 points – a sizable difference. To which extent this risk applies to fluoridation in Wichita or Portland or elsewhere is uncertain, but definitely deserves concern.Now, I can understand that laymen who were concerned about the reports around fluoride and IQ would put their concerns to rest after seeing the Wichita Eagle statements.
But I would expect something different from a pediatrician who speaks out publicly on the issue of fluoride safety than simply dismissing a potential neurotoxic hazard to our children by referring to newspapers in Kansas. That shows a complete lack of diligence and is unprofessional beyond comprehension. In particular since Dr. Wu noted that it was an "unusual step" for the authors of the IQ study to publicly distance themselves. Think about it for a second. Why would the Harvard researchers attempt to publicly correct misrepresentations of their research by using a Kansas newspaper? The obvious step for Dr. Wu would have been to contact the authors directly to confirm the newspaper claims.
Dr. Wu was one of the experts responsible for the presentation before the Portland City Council in September 2012, and a week later the Council decided that water fluoridation was safe and effective and approved an implementation plan that will affect 900,000 people in an around Portland.
I am wondering to what extent the Council based their decision on rumours in newspapers instead of current research. The thought is chilling.
the board of directors). This ought to show an overwhelming assurance that fluoridated water is safe for our children, but from what I have seen in Dr. Wu's video, I am left with zero confidence in any of their endorsements regarding fluoride in the drinking water.
From now on, I believe in policy making based on evidence rather than endorsement.
I am looking forward to seeing statements from Dr. Wu, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Oregon Pediatric Society where they specifically address the results from Dr. Grandjean, and explain why we do not need to establish a safe limit for fluoride in drinking water which would guarantee that our children do not suffer from chemical brain drain.
At least until then, it would be completely irresponsible to support further expansion of community water fluoridation. And until then, my motto will be:
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Take your doctor's words with a grain of salt.