US National Kidney Foundation withdraws support for fluoridation, fearing lawsuit.

The US National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has issued a new position paper formally cancelling NKF’s previous position paper on water fluoridation, concluding that individuals with chronic kidney disease should be notified of the potential risk from exposure to fluorides. The document, issued on 15 April 2008, acknowledges gaping holes in research concerning kidney impacts from fluorides. The NKF has withdrawn its support for water fluoridation, and the American Dental Association has removed it from its list of supporting organisations.

This change in position follows a lawyer’s letter sent to the NKF by US attorney Robert Reeves on 18 September 2007, at the instigation of the Lillie Center Inc, a private health training company. The letter contained the following opening sentence.

“This letter is to make you aware of a window of opportunity for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to act on behalf of its constituents in accordance with the organization’s stated mission. Your actions or inaction in response to this letter have the potential to help or harm many patients with kidney disease, and you should be aware that NKF’s response to this benchmark notification may determine whether NKF and responsible individuals, which might include past and present Officers, Board Members and/or employees are named as defendants in anticipated legal actions now in development.”

Reeves’ letter cites the authoritative report from the National Research Council issued in 2006 that concluded that, “Early water fluoridation studies did not carefully assess changes in renal function.” The NRC report also identifies kidney patients as a “susceptible subpopulation” that is particularly vulnerable to harm from fluorides.

“The letter to the National Kidney Foundation is only the tip of the iceberg,” says Daniel Stockin of the Lillie Center. “The kidney and diabetes lawsuits are about to begin. Employers, water agencies, food and beverage sellers and manufacturers, you name it – I would suggest they immediately halt use or sale of fluoridated water or products containing it.”

The NKF has issued no press release about the April statement and has offered no direct link to the new information on its web site except when a search for the term “fluoride” is entered.

It should be noted that the NKF is funded by the US Government agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the two leading promoters of fluoridation in the US, which perhaps explains its reticence in issuing appropriate warnings. The CDC itself is potentially facing ethics charges over its failure to appropriately notify the public of the NRC’s findings, especially those subpopulations identified by the NRC as being at particular risk from fluoride.

New Zealanders should be careful not to be misled by Government statements that some parts of the USA have much higher fluoride levels in the water than NZ. Fluoridated US cities have the same level as fluoridated NZ communities – 0.7 to 1 ppm, the NRC report makes it clear that the threat to kidney sufferers is at all levels of exposure, and total intake is estimated at similar levels (3 – 4 mg/day in NZ; 3 – 6 mg/day in the USA).