2016-09-09 / Letters

Research has involved animals, humans

To the editor:

The Sept. 2 letter to the editor from Eunice Sargent made a relevant point regarding the importance of animal research to human health outcomes.

In speaking about animal research involving fluoride, Dianne Smallidge, the pro-fluoride speaker at the August 12 fluoride forum, which was held at the Kennebunk Town Hall, dismissed animal research as inconsequential.

Since Dianne Smallidge is an Associate Professor at the Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, it is ironic that she would be so dismissive of animal research in relation to the ingestion of fluoride, since it was at the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston from 1982 through 1994 that Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, a prominent neurotoxicologist from the Harvard Medical School, conducted animal research on the behavior of rats after they had been exposed to fluoride in their drinking water.

Dr. Mullenix’s research on five hundred rats showed consistent results. Male rats, which had been exposed to fluoride while in the womb, exhibited Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) after being born.

Female rats, when exposed to fluoride in their drinking water as weanlings after birth, exhibited symptoms of hypothyroidism and retarded behavior.

It was obvious to Dr. Mullenix that research on humans was necessary to see if humans exhibited similar symptoms after being exposed to fluoride in utero as well as postnatally.

Finally, research on human populations, which had been exposed to fluoridated drinking water in the United States, was conducted beginning in 1992 by Ashley Malin and Christine Till.

The results of this research were published online on February 27, 2015. Malin and Till concluded that, “Parents reported higher rates of medically-diagnosed ADHD in their children in states in which a greater proportion of people receive fluoridated water from public water supplies.”

State-based ADHD prevalence data was obtained for their study by Malin and Till from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The URL for this study is: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-015-0003-1.

Janice Hanson

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