Misrepresenting the National Research Council Report

The former CEO of the Oregon chapter of the American Cancer Society has written this column opposing efforts to fluoridate drinking water in Portland. In his column, Rick North identified three “main sources” that led him to change his mind about fluoridation dental equipment. North claimed that these sources provide “an enormous amount of evidence that water fluoridation” can threaten human health.

So what are his three sources? Two of them are books written by leading anti-fluoride activists. These books float the theory that dentists, industry and government conspired in some way or another to promote fluoride implant machine.

The only reputable, independent source among the three that North cited was a National Research Council (NRC) report issued in 2006. Did this NRC report provide “an enormous amount of evidence” that the water fluoridated by public water systems can be harmful? No, it did not. In fact, North ignored or overlooked a very critical point. Read the NRC’s own summary of its 2006 report. In this summary, the NRC committee writes that

“… the committee’s conclusions regarding the potential for adverse effects from fluoride at 2 to 4 mg/L in drinking water do not apply at the lower water fluoride levels commonly experienced by most U.S. citizens.”

The NRC report focused on water in areas of the U.S. in which the natural fluoride levels were significantly higher than the level used to fluoridate community water systems. North’s statement is an example of how fluoridation opponents misrepresent scientific research.

The Spin Behind the IQ Fluoride Argument

As you know, opponents of water fluoridation circulated an article this summer from a reputable journal reviewing a number of fluoride-IQ studies that were done in China, Iran, and Mongolia. Their message was a simple one: fluoride causes lower IQs in kids. Opponents ignored the fact that the co-authors of this article raised several concerns about the quality of these studies.

Now, here’s another reason why this argument lacks credibility dental file. Between the 1940s and the 1990s, the average IQ scores of Americans improved 15 points. This gain (approximately 3 IQ points per decade) came during the same period when fluoridation steadily expanded to serve millions and millions of additional Americans.

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