A Closer Look at Anti-Fluoride Leaders

Posted & filed under Fluoride, Oral Health, and Access to Care.

Many Americans who live in fluoridated communities and assume their water will remain fluoridated are probably unaware that a handful of activists are working behind the scenes to spread fear and end this proven practice for protecting teeth from decay.

So who are the leading anti-fluoride activists? And what values or interests motivate them? Here is a closer look at the leading figures in the anti-fluoridation movement. Once you have read about these individuals, you can decide whether these individuals are people worth trusting.

Paul Connett is the leader of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), which is based in New York and is the most visible anti-fluoride group in the US. The Post-Standard newspaper in New York examined Connett’s claims and reported:

“He often relies on studies of fluoride use in other countries, where concentrations are significantly higher. One of Connett’s main assertions, that fluoride is a dangerous, unregulated industrial waste byproduct, is disputed by public health professionals and was examined by PolitiFact.com, which found the assertion false.”

The FAN Web site promotes a conspiracy theory linking fluoridation with the atomic bomb and government scientists. Connett keeps close company with others who promote conspiracy theories. He has appeared multiple times on the talk show hosted by Alex Jones, who is described by Slate magazine as “one of the earliest and most influential 9/11 conspiracy theorists.” Jones’ InfoWars Web site regularly attacks water fluoridation. CNN reports that Jones “may be the king of conspiracy,” and Jones’ InfoWars Web site attacks global warming as a “hoax.” In a 2011 speech, Connett referred to people who raise questions about the official accounts of 9/11 and said “we need to pursue questions like that.”

The FAN Web site cites several fluoride studies by a man named John Yiamouyiannis, who co-wrote a book falsely claiming that the virus HIV did not cause AIDS. Even years after Yiamouyiannis co-wrote this book, FAN praised him as “a man of true honor and integrity.” There is no way to know how many people were misled by reading Yiamouyiannis’ book.

Connett has formed a partnership with an anti-vaccine group and an osteopathic doctor named Joseph Mercola, who has called ending water fluoridation one of his “highest priorities.” Mercola manages a Web site that sells a range of products, including a tanning bed, Vitamin D spray, and insect repellent. A recent article in New Yorker magazine reports that Mercola has promoted an Italian physician “who claims that cancer is a fungus that can be cured with baking soda.” Since 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent three warning letters to Mercola, informing him that he could be violating federal law by marketing medical devices for unapproved uses. Dr Joseph Albietz, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado, writes that Mercola’s Web site is “efficient at spreading misinformation.”

Mike Adams is another key figure among anti-fluoride activists. He is the editor and founder of a Web site called NaturalNews.com, and he proposed a health care reform plan that included a provision that “ends the state licensing” of medical providers and allows anyone to practice medicine “as long as patients are willing to pay for their services.”

Adams was the guest host of Alex Jones’ talk show on January 18, 2013. On this show, Adams predicted that the Obama administration officials are conspiring to stage an attack in America “something like blowing up federal buildings, more than what we saw in Oklahoma City, something even perhaps bigger than 9/11.”

HIV does not cause AIDS? Cancer can be cured with baking soda? Global warming is a hoax? Anyone who wants to practice medicine can do so without a license? These extreme views speak volumes about anti-fluoride leaders. These extreme views help Americans understand the junk science that is behind the anti-fluoride movement.

For more information on the tactics and claims of anti-fluoride activists, read this excellent analysis by the Institute for Science in Medicine.