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News of the Day ... In Perspective


Harvard professor investigated over fluoride research

Harvard University is investigating an allegation that dentistry professor Chester Douglass downplayed research suggesting an increased risk of osteosarcoma in boys drinking fluoridated water.

A study performed between 1992 and 1999 reportedly showed that the odds of osteosarcoma were “not statistically different” when drinking fluoridated water compared with nonfluoridated water. In reaching his conclusion, Douglass cited research by his doctoral student Elise Bassin. Her findings, however, based on the some of the same subjects studied by Douglass, showed an increased risk of the bone cancer in boys.

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, said that Bassin “found the strongest association ever between fluoridated tap water and bone cancer among boys.” The incidence peaked at ages 6 through 8.

Other studies have reached conflicting conclusions (Denise Lavoie, AP, July 14, 2005)

Additional information:

“Water Fluoridation: a Review of Recent Research and Actions” by Joel Kauffman, J Am Phys Surg, Summer 2005

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