Same facts - opposite conclusions?
The Fluoride Flip-flop, part two
In the last Daily Dose, I told you about how something is rotten in the much-heralded Harvard University Department of Oral Health Policy. First, a doctoral student at the Ivy League institution concluded in a 2001 thesis that there was a strong link between levels of fluoride in public water and the incidence of bone cancer among boys.
But the head of that department, a man ironically also named Dr. Douglass, presented a final report to his research benefactors that starkly contrasted to the conclusions his doctoral student came to about the correlation between osteosarcoma and fluoridated water: Namely, he claimed there was no such statistically significant link.
There's only one problem: His findings are based on some of the SAME RESEARCH that his 2001 doctoral student's fluoride-incriminating conclusion was derived from!
According to a recent Associated Press piece, Douglass' department received a $1.3 million study grant in 1992 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to further research a fluoride/bone cancer link an earlier U.S. Public Health Service study had pinpointed among young men in fluoridated-water areas. The resulting research, spanning 7 years and concluding in 1999, led to two divergent conclusions among researchers within the same Harvard department.
However, one of these researchers is the Editor-in-Chief of a newsletter funded by one of the biggest players in the militantly pro-fluoride toothpaste industry. I'll give you a hint: It's not the grad student.
Yes, you read that right. Despite his good name known for integrity, Mr. hoity-toity, grant cashing, Harvard-honcho doctor-boy is the figurehead mouthpiece for The Colgate Oral Health Report, a quarterly publication paid for by the Colgate/Palmolive Corporation that serves the dentistry and toothpaste industries - and unmistakably promotes fluoride and fluoridation of public water.
Nah, there's no conflict of interest at play, is there?
At least one advocacy group thinks there is. According to the article, they've alleged "scientific misconduct" on the matter, and called on Harvard University to conduct an investigation of Douglass' ties to the fluoride-related industries. A spokesperson for Harvard claims that the school is convening a committee to check into the allegations
I, for one, wouldn't need some bloated committee to conclude what's happening here. Fluoride-friendly forces have been trying to cover up this industrial toxin's link to bone maladies since 1970. In that year - less than 2 decades after public-water fluoridation became widespread in the U.S., by the way - a New York study showed a higher incidence of bone defects in fluoridated-water communities when compared to those where the water was un-poisoned (non-fluoridated).
Couple this with the 1991 U.S. Public Health Service study and the 2001 Harvard thesis I outlined above that the dental industry is trying so desperately to downplay and anyone with half a brain would conclude that there's something about fluoride ingestion that's detrimental to the bones (duh! I've only been claiming this for 30 years).
But NO - before this research can take hold and be seriously considered, Mr. Harvard Department Head climbs out of the rich, silk lining of the dental lobby's pocket long enough to look at the SAME EVIDENCE and spin it into the opposite conclusion. The problem then goes away, because his credentials and connections overpower his former student's. End of story, most likely.
This is just another in a long line of shameless instances in which industry infiltration of the scientific community has resulted in findings favorable to that industry's interests. I'll keep you posted as this brouhaha develops, if it does indeed persist. I hope the story gets some more exposure in the press, but I won't hold my breath.
I'm just hoping the name "Dr. Douglass" isn't permanently sullied by this travesty.
Defending my claim, and protecting my name,
William Campbell Douglass II, MD