The truth about fluoride’s toxicity is one step closer to being released to the public, but will industry influence prevent its release?
On May 4, the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) unanimously voted to accept the recommendations of the BSC working group relating to the NTP’s report on fluoride’s toxicity. The BSC voted in favor of the NTP making minor adjustments to the so-called “state of the science” report and accompanying meta-analysis, both of which have been at the heart of the long-delayed fluoride lawsuit.
The legal battle between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) began in 2016 when FAN and plaintiffs filed a petition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The plaintiffs are attempting to prove that fluoride is a neurotoxin and should be regulated or banned under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
While the BSC voted to accept the working group’s recommendations it did not make suggestions on how the NTP should update the reports. The BSC left that decision up to Dr. Richard Woychik, the NTP’s director. Woychik will now decide whether to accept the BSC vote and publish the reports, or initiate another round of draft reports which would require further reviews.
Due to Woychik’s position and previous statements regarding his role in preventing the release of the NTP report in 2022 there are concerns about his involvement in the final decision making process. In January, emails released in the course of the lawsuit highlighted how officials within US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) previously blocked the release of the NTP’s May 2022 review, despite the scientists stating it was ready for release. Dr. Woychik filed a declaration with the court claiming responsibility for blocking the release of the May 2022 NTP monograph. Woychik is now in a position where he will once again decide whether or not to release the NTP’s latest review.
The Fluoride Action Network told The Last American Vagabond (TLAV) it was “encouraged” to see the BSC recognize the “need to move forward with publication of the report.” During the public comment period of the BSC meeting, Michael Connett, environmental attorney representing FAN, discussed the emails obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“First, we have learned through the FOIA documents that NTP’s staff scientists have done and are doing an admirable job standing up for scientific integrity in the face of intense and sustained political pressures,” Connett stated.
“The FOIA documents show the pressure on NTP is coming from agencies with very strong partisan interests on fluoride including the CDC’s Division of Oral Health and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). These agencies have been working hand in glove with private lobbyists and PR professionals to smear and discredit NTP’s work at almost every turn.”
Connett outlined how the CDC and NIDCR “immediately maneuvered to prevent the monograph from being released.” Connett says they succeeded by convincing HHS leadership to stop the release of the report. Reading from a previously unreleased email obtained via FOIA, Connett stated that Dr. Brian Berridge, NTP’s former Scientific Director, stated:
“After 17 years in industry I’ve seen efforts to modify messages to fit commercial interests. I wasn’t party to that there, and I’m not game to do that here.”
Dr. Jack Kall, a practicing dentist for 46 years and Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), also spoke in favor of releasing the NTP’s review:
“We are disappointed that fluoridation-promoting dental interests both within the federal government and outside it, have been trying to influence the NTP’s findings, not based on science, but in an effort to defend their policy of promoting water fluoridation.”
Kall said he believes the revisions made by the NTP and the suggested changes by the BSC working group “will not alter the key findings” and called further delays to the release of the report “unjustified.”
American Dental Association Continues to Call for Delays
Dr. Howard Pollick, Professor of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences at University of California School of Dentistry, spoke as a representative of the American Dental Association, a long time proponent of water fluoridation. Pollick called on the NTP to delay the publication of the reports until the ADA concerns are resolved. Pollick stated the ADA’s position that the NTP draft reports are out of date because nine more papers have been published since the NTP completed its review in 2019.
However, several members of the BSC working group indicated they believe the report is time sensitive and should be published. While the BSC stopped short of agreeing to recommend the NTP complete another review of the available literature, including new studies, David Eaton, the workgroup’s chairman and an emeritus professor of toxicology at the University of Washington, did agree the new data should be considered.
“I do think its important that they discuss their findings in the context of newer data, even if those data were not included in their meta-analysis,” Eaton told the group.
Dr. Pollick, representing the ADA, told the BSC working group that the industry’s preference is to have NTP “complete the full course of peer review with its original independent peer review panel, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM).” Pollick also stated that the NTP should “include a stand-alone disclaimer indicating that the report should not be construed as an indictment of low-level fluoride exposures, as NASEM recommended.”
As TLAV previously reported, the attempt by the ADA and certain reviewers of the NTP draft reports to include disclaimers about low-level fluoride exposures has already been addressed by NTP scientists. In the documents released in March, the NTP scientists repeatedly assert their view that adding such a statement is unnecessary because water fluoridation is not the only exposure an individual faces. “As we discuss in the monograph, fluoride is found in water, certain foods, dental products, some pharmaceuticals, etc., and individual behaviors are likely to be an important determinant of actual total fluoride exposures,” the NTP writes.
Further, Dr. Pollick’s recommendation to allow NASEM to complete the peer review is problematic. As Children’s Health Defense recently reported, emails obtained via FOIA by Connett and the FAN show the ADA attempting to influence the allegedly independent, gold standard NASEM. CHD reports that one set of emails show several fluoride lobby groups coordinating a letter writing campaign asking the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to adjust the language of the NTP findings on its website.
Tooka Zokaie, MPH, then-manager of Fluoridation and Preventive Health Activities at the ADA, wrote to the group, “I hope to have more updates from Bob Burns after speaking with NASEM directly about the current misuse of the draft Monograph and misleading representations of its status on the website.” Robert “Bob” Burns is a lobbyist for the ADA who was originally scheduled to speak at the BSC meeting on May 4th but was replaced at the last minute.
CHD also notes that as recent as this year The New York Times questioned NASEM’s independence. The Times reported that while NASEM developed the federal government’s response to the opioid crisis, it also accepted millions of dollars in donations from the controversial Sackler family. The Sacklers are the owners of Purdue Pharma, the company behind the highly addictive opiate OxyContin. The family has been at the center of dozens of lawsuits accusing them of profiting off the opioid crisis.
Source: The Last American Vagabond
Derrick Broze, a staff writer for The Last American Vagabond, is a journalist, author, public speaker, and activist. He is the co-host of Free Thinker Radio on 90.1 Houston, as well as the founder of The Conscious Resistance Network & The Houston Free Thinkers.
Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.