Attn. Dr. Foley – Re: Fluoride & the brain, research quality and questions on scientific accountability

GENRE: Email letter

TO: Dr Michael Foley

AUTHOR: Daniel Z

DATE SENT: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 7:39 PM

TITLE: Attn. Dr. Foley – Re: Fluoride & the brain, research quality and questions on scientific accountability

STATUS: Awaiting response

UPDATES: Any updates should be posted in the comments section below


Dear Dr. Foley,

In a recent public presentation, you assured the community that “the science on fluoride was clear.”[1] In another article, you single out the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) as follows:

“Dr Foley said the arguments from groups such as Fluoride Action Network were based on information such as fluoride lowering the level of IQ in a person.”[2]

Yet, when the Director of this network, Dr. Paul Connett, PhD (Chemistry) challenges you to debate in front of the public to whom you addressed your claims of complete “safety and effectiveness,” you refuse to do so.[3]

Are you aware that Dr. Howard Farren of Arizona had the courage to debate Dr. Connett recently?[4] Would you consider this a “sham debate,” as you eloquently put it in your refusal letter? According to the Host of the Arizona debate, “it does not matter which side of this debate you fall on, tonight you will be informed and empowered to make your own decision.” The audience obviously appreciated the opportunity to hear both sides of this issue.

What places you “above” it all? If you have so much valuable scientific information to provide to the people of Bundaberg, and it is so “indisputable,” and the arguments of your leading opponents are “so weak,” why don’t you demonstrate the necessary fortitude and prove to the people of Bundaberg just how absolutely “right” you are? Why are you so insistent on discrediting, in the media, opponents of fluoridation, yet not willing to allow the community to properly entertain the other side of the issue?

Back to your comment on IQ/Brain, here is what the US National Research Council said in 2006:

“Fluorides also increase the production of free radicals in the brain through several different biological pathways. These changes have a bearing on the possibility that fluorides act to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease… More research is needed to clarify fluoride’s biochemical effects on the brain… it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means. To determine the possible adverse effects of fluoride, additional data from both the experimental and the clinical sciences are needed.”[5]”The possibility has been raised by the studies conducted in China that fluoride can lower intellectual abilities. Thus, studies of populations exposed to different concentrations of fluoride in drinking water should include measurements of reasoning ability, problem solving, IQ, and short-and long-term memory. Care should be taken to ensure that proper testing methods are used, that all sources of exposure to fluoride are assessed, and that comparison populations have similar cultures and socioeconomic status… Studies of populations exposed to different concentrations of fluoride should be undertaken to evaluate neurochemical changes that may be associated with dementia… Additional studies of the relationship of the changes in the brain as they affect the hormonal and neuropeptide status of the body are needed. Such relationships should be studied in greater detail and under different environmental conditions… Most of the studies dealing with neural and behavioral responses have tested NaF. It is important to determine whether other forms of fluoride (e.g., silicofluorides) produce the same effects in animal models.”[6]

And here is what researchers from Harvard University said in 2012:

“We want to make sure that cognitive development is considered as a possible target for fluoride toxicity… Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain. The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”[7]

Now, I know what you are going to say, “the NRC Report is irrelevant to Australia,” just as the NHMRC dismissed it in 2007.[8] However, one only needs to examine the testimony from Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, DDS, PhD (Biochemistry), an expert Panelist for this report, to learn that the NRC Committee did in fact look at studies below 2 ppm.[9] And if you read the report, studies are recommended down to 1 ppm concentration (e.g. p. 303). Furthermore, as rightly pointed out by Dr. Connett et al, the issue is not concentration, it is dose; and, by direct implication, Margin of Safety.[10-13]

Thus I ask you a simple question: How do you, Dr. Foley, plan on establishing an adequate margin of safety to protect the people of Bundaberg from the potential harmful effects of fluoride, when you cannot control the dose they will receive each day, because you cannot control how much water they drink?

Coming back to your statement – “Dr Foley said the arguments from groups such as Fluoride Action Network were based on information such as fluoride lowering the level of IQ in a person”[2]: It is plain for all to see that you are quite happy – in your comments to the public and the media – to brush off the now 36 studies[14] that indicate fluoride can damage the brain in this manner; and the calls for further scientific investigation put forth by the NRC Panel,[6] yet in your arrogance, you are unwilling to debate these and many other scientifically valid issues with scientists.

Could it be that you are unable to answer these tough questions, when push comes to shove, and are more comfortable hiding behind endorsements and tame reviews? If the science on fluoride is of such a high quality, how do you explain the following, from the University of York?:

We were unable to discover any reliable good-quality evidence in the fluoridation literature world-wide.”[15]”No randomised controlled trials of the effects of water fluoridation were found… Given the level of interest surrounding the issue of public water fluoridation, it is surprising to find that little high quality research has been undertaken.”[16]

Gee, ouch. That wouldn’t sound too good as a public relations line, would it?

So where is it? Where is all this “high-quality” science that you assure members of the public and media DOES exist, in copious amounts? Where are the PRIMARY health studies[17] to prove the safety of fluoridation and address the many research gaps highlight by the NRC and others? Where is the high quality evidence to prove the “substantial” benefits[18] of fluoridation, which would justify forcing the measure on the entire population?

I bet that you did not share the following quote with the citizens of Bundaberg (from NRC Panel Chair, Dr. John Doull):

“When we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on.”[19]

No, Dr. Foley, you don’t want them exposed to the “other side” of the debate, DO YOU!?

I propose that THIS IS THE REAL REASON you will not debate Dr. Paul Connett[20]; because you are terrified that the public may see that there are actually many legitimate scientific and ethical reasons for opposing fluoridation; and there are many credible scientists who do so – and who always have done so.

Until you can start answering the questions of your opponents, and addressing their arguments, you are engaging in nothing more than pro-fluoridation “puffery.”[21] And this fails to impress me.

You have obviously been making the same old arguments for a long time.[22] I think it is long overdue that you back your bold claims with confidence, in a REAL debate, with a REAL scientist. Until you do, you will continue to remain unimpressive to me.



Daniel Z


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