Thursday, November 13, 2014

Misrepresentation of Dietary Exposure to Fluoride by Food Safety Authority of Ireland: A Threat to Public Health

In 2002, a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Chemistry measured the fluoride levels in beers available in Great Britain.[i] The highest fluoride level measured was in Guinness, which the authors reported contained 1.12mg/L of fluoride. The authors of the study concluded that beers brewed in locations with high fluoride water levels may contribute significantly to the daily fluoride intake, particularly in alcohol misusing subjects and this may contribute to alcohol-associated bone disease. The high levels of fluoride measured in this study are to be expected.  Guinness, like all major beer producers in Ireland use fluoridated public water in the production of beer. 

In 2011, the Food Safety Authority in Ireland reported that the fluoride levels in beer produced consumed in Ireland were less than < 0.05mg per litre. Astonishingly, no data was provided on the brand of beer tested, the number of alcoholic beverages tested or whether the beer was produced in Ireland or imported.  
It is inconcievable that beer products produced using fluoridated water would contain this concentration of fluoride.  To confirm this fact I undertook independent scientific testing of forty two alcoholic beverages undertaken using the American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) and EPA standard methodologies for fluoride determination. The results conclusively demonstrate that the levels of fluoride reported by the FSAI are grossly inaccurate. The results determined that the fluoride levels in beers and stouts produced in Ireland vary between 0.4 and 0.8mg/l.  Similar levels were measured in New Zealand beers where fluoridated water was used in the production process. This evidence demonstrates that the reported level of fluoride in beers as reported by the FSAI was in the order of 16 times below the concentration present in beers and stouts produced in the Republic of Ireland. 

Quality Standards in Scientific Studies

In any scientific study basic quality standards must apply. The first is that sampling must be representative and the chain of custody must be documented. The second it that the analysis, procedures and controls must be adequate to ensure that the study is objective and every measure must be taken to ensure that basic quality control procudures were adhered to.

I have sought from the Food Safety Authority  the chain of custody records for their study, in order determine the quality control procedures, identify who took the sample and what brand of beer or other products were tested. No information could be provided by the FSAI. The only logical conclusion one can make from observation is this is that the sample of beer tested was one that was an imported beer from non fluoridated Europe. 

Similarly, when the fluoride level of tea was measured by the FSAI, the fluoride level was found to be significantly below the reported concentrations measured in all international studies. When queried on this, the FSAI reported that the sample of tea was not taken by the FSAI itself but rather by a staff member of the Dental College in University College Cork.  

Very serious questions have to be asked as to why the FSAI allowed the Dental College to take samples and why no records are available as to who took the samples or what brand of products were tested.  It is entirely unacceptable that such  poor standards of scientific research are tolerated for what is essential research into the dietary intake of fluoride by the Irish population. 

Remarkably, the FSAI study is used as evidence by the Minister for Health to demonstrate that the population of Ireland have low dietary exposure to fluoride. Yet thefluoride levels in beer and tea reported in this study are in the order of 2000 and 4000 per cent below the actual measured levels . 

In the FSAI study, not one of the most basic requirements for ensuring scientific accuracy were met, but more importantly the misrepresentations of dietary intake of fluoride present a significant threat to public health.

[i] Warnakulasuriya S, Harris C, Gelbier S, Keating J, Peters T. 2002. Fluoride content of alcoholic beverages. Clin Chim Acta 320:1–4.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good science and accurate reporting of science must prevail.

Nick Cohen noted in his article (It’s not just on Ebola that good science must prevail, published in the Observor, 1st, November 2014) that Sinn Fein is leading a vigorous anti-fluoride campaign in Dublin and suggested "that its progress for the IRA to go from blowing off peoples heads to merely rotting their teeth."

Mr. Cohen is perhaps unaware that the largest party in Government in the Republic of Ireland was the leading political party opposed to mandatory fluoridation in Ireland for over four decades. In the 1960s, when mandatory fluoridation was first introduced in Ireland, Fine Gael (FG) voted unanimously against legislation mandating that all public water supplies be artificially fluoridated. FG, the current party of Government, were in their own words “violently opposed’ to this policy.[i]

That was 1960,  more recently in 2001, FG promised that they would end mandatory fluoridation of water in Ireland if  they were elected to Government.[ii] Just over ten years ago every Local Government and City Council throughout the Republic of Ireland, where FG had a majority, voted overwhelmingly to end fluoridation of water. Back then as now, the Government refused to acknowledge or accept the democratic voice of elected representatives or local government. Ironically however, on this occasion it is the very political party that previously 'violently opposed' fluoridation which now ensures  mandatory fluoridation continues in Ireland.

Mr Cohen then goes on to refer to David Robert Grimes, a physicist who has no  background in fluoride chemistry, toxicology, pharmacology or environmental health and who believes that those opposed to fluoridation are quacks, violent fanatics or conspiracy theorists. There are many notable experts in toxicology, dentristry, pharmocology, chemistry and medicine who oppose fluoridation of water and who are far more experienced and qualified than David Grimes on this subject. Included among them are Nobel laurette Professor Avrid Carlson a neuropharmacologist at the University of Gothenburg who was instrumental in stopping the introduction of water fluoridation in Sweden;  Professor  Robert Isaacson, Professor in Neurological  Behavioural Science, Professor Hardy Limeback PhD in Biochemistry, Doctorate in Dentristry and and Dr Kathleen Theissen, one of the leading experts in the field of environmental toxicology in the world. The latter three experts were key  members of the United States National Academies of Medicine and Sciences scientific commitee established to investigate fluoride, their report was published in 2006. Each of these four internationally respected experts devoted many years of research to examining  the science behind fluoridation and all are vehemently opposed to fluoridation of water. Contratory to David Grimes opinion, their views are not based on superstitution but rather on their keen understanding of science, toxicology and human biology. In the interest of journalistic integrity im sure the public would welcome the Observor reporting opposing views so that the public can indeed access information from scientists who have been prepared to make a case against fluoridation, and in so doing make up their own minds on this subject.