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"Blame the Victim" Tactic of Lead Paint Industry Now Used by Defenders of Fluoridation

NORTH SUTTON, N.H., May 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report released by Fluoride Action Network (FAN) based on emails it has obtained through Freedom of Information reveals the tactics dentists are now using to try to raise doubts about the growing scientific evidence that fluoride can reduce child IQ. Dentists are reviving a "blame the victim" tactic first used by the lead industry over 60 years ago.

Historian Gerald Markowitz described a 1957 meeting of the Lead Industries Association (LIA) where its director:

 "…defined lead poisoning as a problem of slums. And … these are his words — ineducable parents. In a private letter, he made clear who he meant by ineducable parents. He was talking … Negro and Puerto Rican parents. And so he was in that meeting really blaming the victims … blaming the parents of children for not preventing lead poisoning."

Later, the president of the lead industry's research organization blamed the children themselves. He claimed "reverse causality" could explain why children with high lead had low IQ. He argued that blood lead was higher in low IQ children not because the lead had caused the reduction in IQ, but because low IQ children ate more lead paint chips. Scientists easily disproved this, but LIA kept repeating it.

Emails reveal that California State Dental Director Jayanth Kumar (who admits "my job is to promote fluoridation") says that in studies in China, where fluoride exposures cause high rates of unsightly dental fluorosis, the smarter people move away to areas with lower fluoride, thereby reducing the average IQ of the population of those who remain. Not only is Kumar's "reverse causality" explanation pure speculation, it is easily disproven by studies in areas where fluoride reduced IQ but exposures were too low to cause high rates of unsightly dental fluorosis [Green 2019, Bashash 2017].

The "blame the victim" tactic, now with fluoride, has the same goal as when the lead industry used it: to delay action for years by manufacturing doubt.

FAN Science Advisor, Paul Connett PhD, warns: "Squandering years in debate on fluoride risks the same harm to brains of millions of children that resulted from delayed recognition of low-level lead harm. The evidence on fluoride is more than sufficient to take protective action now."

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SOURCE Fluoride Action Network