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June 9, 2010

Is the CDC more committed to protecting industry than infants?

I think what DCD (Centers for Disease Control) is doing on its website is reprehensible. There is real concern among scientists that fluoridated tap-water could pose a danger to infants on formula.

The quote on the main "fluoride safety page" on the CDC website summarizes the science on the question like this:

The proper amount of fluoride at all stages of life helps prevent and control tooth decay. Recent studies have raised the possibility that mixing infant formula with fluoridated water, particularly for infants exclusively on a formula diet during the first year of life, may play a more important role in enamel fluorosis development than was previously understood.
Important role? Sound like "beneficial" to me. When I read this, I get the impression that the study is saying that fluoride might be good for babies.

Click on the link and CDC tells you:
A recent study, however, has raised the possibility that fluoride exposure during the first year of life may play a more important role on fluorosis development than was previously understood. It now appears that the amount of the fluoride contained in the water used for mixing infant formula may influence a child’s risk for developing enamel fluorosis, particularly if the child’s sole source of nutrition is from reconstituted infant formula.
Talk about convoluted language! I would contend, having read the CDC's statement, that only the most highly-educated American parents would be able to discern whether the study in question found that fluoride may pose a risk to infants, or protective.

We're talking about the health of babies! And here we have the CDC -- a US government agency - describing the results of an important study in a way that obscures the finding of the study.

Compare CDC's use of language to the words of the scientists themselves:
"A major effort should be made to avoid use of fluoridated water for dilution of formula powders."
SOURCE: Ekstrand J. (1996). Fluoride Intake. In: Fejerskov O, Ekstrand J, Burt B, Eds. Fluoride in Dentistry, 2nd Edition. Munksgaard, Denmark. Pages 40-52
It looks to me as if the CDC would err side of protecting industry rather than defenseless babies. It could care less about helping those parents who turn to CDC for information actually make sense of the studies. The CDC may well be to the fluoride industry exactly what MMS is to the oil drilling industry.

2 comments:

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