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A call for papers from EPA Standard for Fluoride in Drinking Water Is Not Protective

Tooth Enamel Loss, Bone Fractures of Concern at High Levels

(March 22nd 2006)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standard for the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water - 4 milligrams of fluoride per litre of water - does not protect against adverse health effects, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. According to the most recent data, just over 200,000 Americans have drinking water sources containing fluoride levels at 4 mg/L or higher.
The committee that wrote the report concluded that children exposed to the current maximum allowable concentration risk developing severe tooth enamel fluorosis, a condition characterised by discolouration, enamel loss, and pitting of the teeth. A majority of the committee also concluded that people who consume water containing that much fluoride over a lifetime are likely at increased risk for bone fractures.
The report does not examine the health risks or benefits of the artificially fluoridated water that millions of Americans drink, which contains 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L of fluoride.
The committee's study was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, non-profit institution that provides science and technology advice under a congressional charter.

To see the statement itself:


Bassin EB. (2001). Association Between Fluoride in Drinking Water During Growth and Development and the Incidence of Osteosarcoma for Children and Adolescents. Doctoral Thesis, Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

This is an extract from the website of the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org):

“The above unpublished dissertation found a strong, statistically significant relationship between fluoride in tap water at levels commonly found in American water supplies, and the rare but often fatal form of bone cancer, osteosarcoma, in boys especially between the ages of 5 and 10.   These findings are confirmed by previous studies.

After the National Research Council had repeatedly been denied a copy of the thesis, the NRC committee sent a committee member to the Harvard Countway Library of Medicine to read the document and report back.  The EWG then obtained a copy of the results section of the document from the Fluoride Action Network, who sent two researchers to the library, each of whom were allowed to copy 10 percent of the document.

Dr. Bassin's study measured the risk of osteosarcoma before age 20 based on exposures to fluoride in drinking water during each year of age in childhood. The methodology employed is rigorous and fluoride levels in tap water for each study participant were confirmed for each year of exposure during childhood. The analysis shows significantly elevated risks of bone cancer in boys exposed to fluoridated water during a window of vulnerability, from ages five through ten, with a peak risk associated with exposures at seven years of age.

Bassin's doctoral dissertation was based on a reanalysis of data from another study that found no association between drinking water fluoride levels and bone cancer, co-authored by Harvard Department Chair Dr. Chester Douglass (McGuire 1995). In her reanalysis, Bassin examined the same cases and controls used by Douglass in 1995. Dr. Bassin, however, refined the analysis by limiting cases to individuals exposed at less than 20 years old and conducted a more detailed analysis of fluoride exposure and age-specific effects. The result was a very strong correlation between fluoride exposure and bone cancer, particularly for boys exposed at ages 6 through 8.

The EWA have accused Dr Douglass of ignoring the findings of Dr Bassin and The Harvard School of Dental Medicine announced recently that it will launch an investigation into Dr Douglass’ work.   Dr Douglass spoke at a meeting organised by the British Fluoridation Society in 2002 and rejected any connection between osteosarcoma and fluoridation, although he had signed off Dr Bassin’s study in 2001.”