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UK Against Fluoridation

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Study Linking Fluoridation to Hypothyroidism Criticized

Standing by the Findings
But the study's lead author, Stephen Peckham, BSc, MA, a professor of health policy at the University of Kent and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, stands by his findings. "Some of the conclusions might be overstated, but I don't think that makes a difference to the actual analysis," he told Medscape Medical News.
Dr Peckham said he got interested in water fluoridation when it was proposed for Southampton in the United Kingdom, where he lives.
"I started to look at the evidence and found that perhaps the evidence for water fluoridation was not has clear cut as it was being presented," he said. 
He joined the campaign against fluoridation that eventually succeeded in stopping the initiative in Southampton.
Later, after a colleague noted locations with elevated hypothyroidism around England, he began documenting an association with water fluoridation. About 10% of people in England live in areas where fluoride is added to water.
Relying on data kept by individual practitioners, Dr Peckham and colleagues estimated that the odds of a practice recording high levels of hypothyroidism was 1.4 times higher (odds ratio, 1.371; 95% confidence interval, 1.120 - 1.679) in areas with maximum fluoride levels, from higher than 0.3 mg/L to 0.7 mg/L, and 1.6 times higher in areas with maximum fluoride in excess of 0.7 mg/L (odds ratio, 1.621; 95% confidence interval, 1.379 - 1.904) than it was for practices in areas with maximum fluoride levels of 0.3 mg/L or less.
Dr Peckham and colleagues also cite earlier research suggesting that high levels of fluoride can disrupt thyroid function; in particular, a 2006 review by the National Research Council of the US Environmental Protection Agency's standards for fluoride in drinking water.
That review concluded that "several lines of information indicate an effect of fluoride exposure on thyroid function. However...it is difficult to predict exactly what effects on thyroid function are likely at what concentration of fluoride exposure and under what circumstances."
An "Appalling Paper"
Not only is the National Research Council report equivocal, other reviews cited in Dr Peckham's paper also do not support his conclusions, says Dr Foley. For example, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks concludes that, "A systematic evaluation of the human studies does not suggest a potential thyroid effect at realistic exposures to fluoride."
As for Dr Peckham's finding of a correlation between fluoridation and hypothyroidism in England, Dr Foley said that it did not adequately take into consideration the potential that geographical variation in iodine intake could confound the results.
Dr Peckham and colleagues acknowledge the importance of iodine to thyroid function, but they write that "the major source of iodine in the UK is from the diet and it is unlikely that there are significant differences between people residing in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas."
Yet the studies Dr Peckham and colleagues cite do not show that iodine levels are uniform from one part of England to another, Dr Foley argued.
"I think Peckham should be ashamed of himself," Dr Foley said. "It's an appalling paper."
"It's a Bit of a Mine Field"
Dr Peckham, who is preparing a written response to the some of these critiques, has not budged from his bottom line. The evidence for a benefit is not strong enough to support community water fluoridation, and the evidence for harm is not weak enough to be dismissed, he said.
"I think on that basis, I would recommend that oral health switch to noningested fluoride," said Dr Peckham.
He cited a study published in June in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The study concluded that "water fluoridation is effective at reducing levels of tooth decay among children," but that the "the results are based predominantly on old studies and may not be applicable today."
In the meantime, with both sides entrenched in their positions, research is difficult, he said. "It's a bit of a mine field."
Dr Peckham disclosed that he was involved in a campaign in Southampton to prevent the fluoridation of drinking water. The other authors and Dr Foley have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
J Epidemiol Community Health. Published online February 24, 2015. Abstract
One sure way to prove if fluoride harms the brain is to collect data from those people who had all  their teeth removed at a young age before fluoride toothpaste.
Is there less Alzheimer's  amongst these people than those who had a life time of swallowing fluoride?
Count me in the first group and at 81 my brain isn't too bad.
(I blame poor diet too much sugar and ignorance for my rotten teeth)


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