Truth Is a Frequent Casualty
Anti-fluoride activists often spin or misrepresent the facts when they attack fluoridation. A good example is the letter to the editor from an opponent that was recently published by a Kansas newspaper. Robert Bohm, the letter’s author, claimed that fluoride adds “cancer-causing elements” to drinking water, declaring: “No wonder cancer rates are off the charts.”
California asked a six-member panel of experts to determine whether fluoride should be classified as cancer-causing. In 2011 the panel, established by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, reached its unanimous conclusion — fluoride is not a cancer-causing substance. The same year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its determination that “the available data do not support a conclusion that exposure to fluoride in FDA-regulated products causes cancer.”
But what about the other claim Bohm made in his letter? Are cancer rates really soaring? No, they are not. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer rates rose between 1975 and 1989, but showed relatively little movement from 1989 to 1998. In the most recent period studied (1998-2008), NCI reports that the cancer rate “has significantly declined.”
It isn’t clear what Bohm based his “off the charts” statement on. But spend five minutes on the National Cancer Institute’s Web site and you will see that his statement was false. This kind of inaccurate and misleading claim is why fluoridation opponents lack credibility.