Last week Dr Shane Reti admitted that his support for fluoridation was based on “his science” and “his belief”.
Fielding a question from the audience at the National Party meeting “Let’s Talk Health”, Dr Reti was unable to answer why fluoridation should be continued despite a top US Government scientific body confirming that fluoride does lower children’s IQ and there is no known level where it does not cause this harm.
“Are you aware that the US Government’s top scientific body, The National Toxicology Program, has recently completed a six year review on fluoride and neurotoxicity. Since they have confirmed fluoride does lower children’s IQ and there is no known level where fluoride does NOT cause harm – what reason do you have to continue fluoridation?”
“The reason I have is that I believe in a different science”.
Following up on this an email was sent to Dr Reti’s office to find out what Dr Reti’s science was. It turns out to be solely based on the 2014 report Health Effects of Water Fluoridation by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and Royal Society of New Zealand, which actually acknowledges a 7 IQ point loss found in a 2012 meta-analysis by Harvard researchers.
Of course the National Toxicology Program reviewed all the science available. 52 of the 55 studies found decreases in child IQ with increased fluoride. Of the 19 high-quality studies assessing the association between fluoride and IQ in children, 18 reported an association between higher fluoride exposure and lower IQ in children.
All the high-quality studies directly relevant to water fluoridated at 0.7 to 1ppm have been published from 2017. These were found to be highly reliable and at low risk of bias.
The only NZ study, which did not find an association, was graded as at high risk of bias, poor quality and unreliable (Broadbent, Thompson et al, 2015).
So NTP confirms that our science is high quality and Dr Reti’s science is junk. As a paid representative Dr Reti surely has a duty to keep up with valid science rather than bury his head in the sand to perpetuate his preferred (false) beliefs in outdated, misrepresented science and a failed health policy.
His office sent a reply advising that Dr Reti relies on the Royal College of General Practitioner’s submission sent to the Health Select Committee in 2017. The only research on neurotoxicty referenced in this submission is the 2014 Report.
Dr Reti’s “science” is therefore outdated and misinformed.