A study associating drinking fluoridated water
with osteosarcoma, a rare malignant bone tumor,
was recently published on Cancer Causes and Control,
an online peer-review journal of Harvard University.
Elise B. Bassin, a clinical instructor in Oral Health
Policy and Epidemiology, who led the study, wrote
in an e-mail that she found a significant relationship
between fluoride and cancer contradicting the findings
of her dissertation adviser Chester Douglass, the
chair of the Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology
Department at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
We found an association between fluoride levels
in drinking water during childhood and osteosarcoma
for males diagnosed before age 20 years, she wrote.
Douglass$1.3 million dollar, 15 year study did
not find a link between drinking fluoridated water
and developing osteosarcoma. He said Bassins
study is a subset of his study and that he had not
been able to replicate her results.
The Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C.
based advocacy group, recently filed an ethics complaint
against Douglass because he allegedly cited Bassins
study in his report, despite the opposite conclusions
reached by the two studies. Douglass said he just
listed Bassins study as a related publication
and not a reference.
Douglass has received widespread criticism for defending
the use of fluoride while being editor of a publication
funded by a fluoride toothpaste maker.
Douglass wrote a letter in Cancer Causes and
Control,where Bassins work was published,
warning readers to take the results of Bassins
study with discretion.
Readers are cautioned not to generalize and over-interpret
results... before making conclusions, and before
influencing any related policy decisions, he wrote.