Are Most Fluoridation Promoters Neurotics? P. R. N. SUTTON 163A New Street, Melbourne, Australia 3186

Abstract-Observations of the behavior of a large number of fluoridation promoters over a period of more than 30 years has led to the conclusion that most of them are neurotics.


The well-publicized interpretations of the results obtained in the original four main fluoridation ‘trials’ held at Grand Rapids, Newburgh and Evanston, USA and in Brantford. Canada, which commenced between 1945 and 1947, provided the main impetus for the widespread adoption by government agencies of the process called ‘water fluoridation’-the medicating of whole populations with uncontrollable doses of fluorides through their drinking-water. Even 35 years later, in a report prepared for the Canadian Dental Association, Lang and Clark (1) stated that: ‘These original studies have provided much .of the justification for water fluoridation’. From its inception, the study of fluoridation has been conducted mainly by senior government officials. Soon after their IO-year trials were completed in the late 195Os, those who had even a basic knowledge of scientific research and of academic statistics, and who took the trouble to check, and compare, the data published from the many reports from those studies (eg 2,3) realized that they contained many errors and other undesirable features which made the published claims unacceptable. However, those errors were either not recognized or were ignored, and it was not until many years later Date received 3 June 1992 Date accepted 14 July 1992

that the promoters of fluoridation felt that it was safe to acknowledge the shortcomings of those studies and allege that the proof of the efficacy of fluoridation had been established by later studies. In 1987 Jackson (4), the leading UK promoter, said: ‘On the question of efficacy, we do not have to rely on the inadequate studies of the past’. Without nominating individual studies, the Buoridation promoters then began to appeal to the naive by suggesting that the efficacy of fluoridation had been established by an overwhelming mass of experimental data. In 1984, an ‘expert’ committee of the WHO (5) claimed that there were 120 studies thoughout the world, and that these had ‘proved’ the efficacy of fluoridation. For 5 years these claims were widely disseminated but no one queried whether that number of studies existed-which they did not. Nor whether even one study had established, by scientifically-acceptable means, that fluoridation decreases the prevalence of dental caries. Both these claims were then shown to be false (6. 7). One remarkable instance of the ignoring of errors in the reports of fluoridation trials, both by pro-fluoridation individuals and organizations, occurred in January, 1967. On the twentieth anniversary of the commencement of the Evanston trial, a special is-


200 sue of the Journal of the American Dental Association was published, devoted entirely to the results of

that trial (8). In the Foreword, Dr F A Arnold (9) the Chief Dental Officer of the United States Public Health Service (and formerly the chief experimenter in the Grand Rapids trial) stated: Here, in a single report, are data on the effecl of water fluoridation on dental caries so completely documented that the article is virtually a text book for use infwlher research. It is an important scientific contribution towards the beitermetu of the dental health of our nation. It is a classic in this field.

It is indeed a classic-a first-class example of the errors, omissions and mis-statements which abound in the reports of all these fluoridation trials. Dr Arnold made that statement despite the fact that that article published a number of tables which were demonstrably incorrect. For instance, there were no fewer than 6 different statements in that article of the number of 12-14-year-old children who were examined in Evanston in 1946. These were (the numbers of the tables in which they appeared in that paper are shown in parenthesis): 1703 (Tables 15 and 32) 1702 (47). 1701 (11,30,41,44 and 45), 1697 (7,9, 12, 13, 17, 19, 22 and 31). 1556 (26) and 1146 (46)! The errors in that report were so marked that they were immediately obvious to the investigator and, when giving evidence, were reported that year (1967) to the judge who conducted the Tasmanian Royal Commission into Fluoridation (lo), but he did not seem to understand the implications. They were also mentioned in a book Fluoridation: ScientiJic Criticisms and Fluoride Dangers (11) which was prepared as a submission to the Victorian Committee of Inquiry (12). However, no mention of these errors in the Evanston study has been found elsewhere in the very voluminous literature on fluoridation (much of which is unbridled propaganda) published in the 24 years since that 1976 special article (8) in the Journal of the American Dental Association. In the manner which is common in reports of fluoridation trials, those erroneous tables have been accepted by fluoridation promoters at their face value, without investigation. (It should not be forgotten that this trial in Evanston is still regarded as one of the four major trials ‘proving’ the efficacyoffluoridation. It was cited as such, for instance, by the Royal College of Physicians in 1976 (13) and by the WHO (5) in 1984.) The characteristics displayed by those advocates were mentioned in 1949 by the eminent Professor of Oral Pathology at Harvard University, Kurt Thoma (14). (At that time fluoridation had commenced only 4


years previously, so that his remarks were not related to that process.) He stated: The neurotic depends on opinions other than his own and is swayed by remarks of others without analysing the facts. He feels that his opinions must be enforced, and even ifproven in error he will not ‘give in’ because this hurts his ego ideal.

Conclusion That description fits so accurately the attitude and behavior (judged from their verbal and published statements) of almost all the promoters of fluoridation who have been encountered during a study of this subject which has lasted for more than 30 years, that one wonders whether most of them are neurotics, and whether this explains their continued fervent advocacy of this discredited process. Perhaps the senior Italian dental professor was not far wrong when, 20 years ago in a private conversation with me, he described fluoridation as an ‘AngloSaxon madness’. References 1. Lang P, Clark C. Analysing selected criticisms of water Auoridaticn. J Canadian Dental Association 47: i-xii, March 1981. 2. Sutton P R N. Fluoridation: Errors and omissiats in experimenial trials. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1959. 3. Sutton P R N. Fluoridation: Errors and anissions in experimental trials. 2ed. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne. 1960. 4. Jackson D. Lerter to the Ecologist 17: 126. 1987. 5. World Health Organization. Environmental health criteria 36. Fluorine and fluorides. World Health Organization. Geneva, 1984. Sutton P R N. Fluoridation of water. Chemical and Engineering News. 67: 3, 1989. Sutton P R N. The failure of fluoridation. Fluoride 23: l-3, 1990. Blayney J R. HiB I N. Fluorine and dental caries. J American Dental Association 74: 225-302, 1967. Arnold F A Jr. Foreword to Blayney J R. HilJ I N. Fluorine and dental caries. J American Dental Association 74: 225-302. 1967. 10. Tasmanian Royal Commission. Report of the Royal Commissioner into the Fluoridation of Tasmanian Water Supplies. Hoban, Tasmanian Government Printer, 1%8. 11. Sutton P R N. Fluoridation. 1979: Criticisms and Fluoride Dangers. Melbourne, Sutton, 1980. 12. Victorian Committee of Inquiry. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Fluoridation of Victorian Water Supplies. Melbourne. Victorian Government Printer, 1980. __ 13. Roval CoJJeee of Phvsicians. Fluoride. Teeth and Health. Tunbridge Wells, Pitman Medical, 1976. 14. Thoma K H. Oral and dental diagnosis. 3 ed. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1949.

Are most fluoridation promoters neurotics?

I-Medical Hypotheses Are Most Fluoridation Promoters Neurotics? P. R. N. SUTTON 163A New Street, Melbourne, Australia 3186 Abstract-Observations of...
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