Friday, November 15, 2013

Dr Robert Grimes unscientific opinions are a threat to public health.


Letter sent to Oxford University regarding scientific misconduct and medical negligence

Dr Robert Grimes who self promotes his employment as a researcher in Oxford University stated in the Irish Times (Anti-fluoride lobby can’t get its teeth into the truth, Monday Sept 9th 2013) that the arguments of anti-fluoridation campaigners are detrimental to the public understanding of science and medicine.[i]

Dr Robert Grimes yesterday stated on national radio in Ireland (George Hook, Newstalk Radio, 14th November 2013) that fluoride is an essential micronutrient. This is scientifically incorrect. The European Scientific Committee on Health and Scientific risk stated in their 2010 report on Fluoridation of drinking water that “Fluoride is not an essential element for human growth and development, and for most organisms in the environment.”

This scientific opinion is also supported by the European Food Safety Authority (2005).[ii] Furthermore the EFSA stated (2006) that “There is no convincing evidence that health and development of humans depend on the intake of fluoride” [iii]

Dr. Grimes further stated on Newstalk Radio that the source of fluoride is irrelevant, a fluoride ion is a fluoride ion. This statement is again factually and scientifically incorrect. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that naturally occurring calcium fluoride is 3000 times less soluble in water than chemical compounds used for artificial water fluoridation. [iv] The WHO noted that “Fluoride ions are readily released from soluble fluoride compounds such as sodium fluoride, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorosilicic acid” (EHC, 2002) [v]. These are the compounds used for artificial water fluoridation.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA Journal 2008)[vi] and the United States Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 2003) [vii] have stated that “soluble forms of fluoride salts have reported absorption efficiencies of between 80–100 %. Conversely, insoluble sources of fluoride such as calcium fluoride, are much less well absorbed.”

The EFSA have stated “the toxicity of fluoride is dependent upon the type or species of the compound ingested, and therefore, the more soluble salts of inorganic fluorides are the most toxic (EHC, 2002; ATSDR, 2003).”  [viii],[ix]

Scientific bodies in the EU[x] and the US[xi] agree that no toxicity data is available on hexafluorosilicic acid.  Hexafluorosilicic acid (also known as hydrofluosilicic acid or hydrofluorosilicic acid) is used as an active substance for water fluoridation throughout Ireland and in a few other countries in the World where water fluoridation is practised.

Hexafluorsilicic acid was placed on a list of prohibited substances by the European Commission and was specifically banned in 2006 for use as a biocidal product due to a lack of toxicological and epidemiological data to demonstrate it was safe for use for consumers or the environment.

Dr. Grimes stated on national radio that with the concentrations in fluoride in artificially fluoridated water even if one drank swimming pools of water would cause no harm. This statement is not only shocking in its scientific ignorance but extremely dangerous for public health and should not be allowed to be broadcast on public radio. These statements were made by a medical researcher employed by Oxford University, I would add that the presenter of the national radio show noted repeatedly the prestigious record of this university and stated that Dr. Grimes was an expert in fluoride.

The US National Academies have reported that fluoride intake of between 0.7-3.5mg per day has been found to affect thyroid function. [xii] That is the equivalent to drinking one litre of water. The maximum upper tolerable level for fluoride is 4mg per day for men and 3mg per day for women over 19 years of age. [xiii] For children aged 4-8 years the upper recommended daily intake is 1mg day, for children 9-13 years 2mg/day and for age 14-18years 3mg/day. [xiv]

The EFSA have stated that the additional daily fluoride intake for consumers living in fluoridated regions compared to individuals in non-fluoridated countries is 3.5 - 4mg per day. [xv] This was calculated based on consumption of fluoridated tap water, and additional fluoride from using fluoridated water to cook with or process foods or beverages in addition to an individual drinking 500ml of tea made with fluoridated water. The EFSA concluded that the daily intake would exceed 6mg fluoride per day without including fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste or medications.

It is a scientific fact that the upper safe tolerable levels of exposure to fluoride are vastly exceeded by  individuals living in the Republic of Ireland.

Chan et al. (2013) published findings in the Journal of Food Research International that a significant proportion of the population in the UK are chronically exposed to fluoride at levels that can lead to detrimental health effects from the consumption of tea alone.[xvi] This finding was based on measurement of fluoride concentration in tea made with non fluoridated deionised water. By making tea with fluoridated water the risks and health effects are increased.  The consumption of tea in Ireland is greater than the UK and consumers make tea with fluoridated water.

In 2010, Dr. Peter Mansfield published a study[xvii] based on epidemiological data from adults living in England, Scotland, which also included data from Republic of Ireland. The findings of this study, independently verified and accepted by the UK Food Safety Authority as accurate were published in a peer reviewed journal. The findings concluded that 73% of the adults tested living in the fluoridated region of Ireland exceeded the safe recommended maximum daily level of exposure to fluoride. The figure for adults living in non-fluoridated areas of England was 25%. 

The public statements by Dr. Grimes in support of mandatory fluoridation are not only scientifically inaccurate but constitute a grave risk to public safety in Ireland. They also discredit the scientific profession and academic institutions that are promoted by reference to his place of employment. The actions of Dr. Grimes and his public statements not only discredit the distinguished and learned institution that is Oxford University, but he has discredit the scientific profession with his ill-informed and scientifically inaccurate public statements.


[i] http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/anti-fluoride-lobby-can-t-get-its-teeth-into-the-truth-1.1520290
[ii] European Food Safety Authority, Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Fluoride, EFSA Journal 2005 192,1-54
[iii] European Food Safety Authority, Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Fluoride, EFSA Journal 2005 192,1-54, Page 9
[iv] EHC, 2002. Environmental Health Criteria 227. Fluorides. World Health Organization, Geneva.
[v] EHC, 2002. Environmental Health Criteria 227. Fluorides. World Health Organization, Geneva.
[vi] European Food Safety Authority, Scientific Opinion, Calcium fluoride as a source of fluoride added for nutritional purposes to food supplements. The EFSA Journal (2008) 882, 1-15
[vii] ATSDR, 2003. Toxicological profile for fluorides, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorine. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Division of Toxicology/Toxicology Information Branch. September 2003. Atlanta, Georgie.
[viii] EHC, 2002. Environmental Health Criteria 227. Fluorides. World Health Organization, Geneva.
[ix] ATSDR, 2003. Toxicological profile for fluorides, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorine. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Division of Toxicology/Toxicology Information Branch. September 2003. Atlanta, Georgie.
[x] EU Directorate General for Health and Consumers, Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water, Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks, 2010
[xi] United States, National Research Council of the National Academies, Fluoride in Drinking Water, 2006
[xii] United States, National Research Council of the National Academies, Fluoride in Drinking Water, 2006, pages 263-264
[xiii] European Food Safety Authority, Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Fluoride, EFSA Journal 2005 192,1-54, Page 9
[xiv] European Food Safety Authority, Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Fluoride, EFSA Journal 2005 192,1-54, Page 9
[xv] European Food Safety Authority, Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Fluoride, EFSA Journal 2005 192,1-54, Page 14
[xvi] Chan et al. Human exposure assessment of fluoride from tea (Camellia sinensis L.): A UK based issue? Food Research International 51 (2013) 564–570
[xvii] Mansfield, Fluoride consumption: The effect of water fluoridation, Fluoride 43(4)223-231 Oct-December 2010,

2 comments:

  1. Well said. David Robert Grimes gives science a bad name - his scepticism is prejudiced, and therefore, not true.

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  2. I agree. I am all for science and genuine skepticism, but the skepticism of people like David Robert Grimes is rather militant and prejudiced, and thus difficult to take seriously. He tends to write good articles on social issues, but the article he wrote on water fluoridation was highly dubious. For example, he failed to mention a lot of related counter-arguments (e.g. proven negative synergistic effects of lead uptake in developing brains when exposed to fluoride) and he selectively uses data sets. See this article published in The Lancet which names fluoride as a toxin in neurological development: http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laneur/PIIS1474442213702783.pdf?id=eaaQK7ctyw93Lb0ZPhqru

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