While holding a dual appointment with the Department of Neuropathology and Psychiatry at Harvard University and the Forsyth Institute (at the time, a dental research organization) in the 1980s, Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D. established the Department of Toxicology at Forsyth for the purpose of investigating the environmental impact of substances that were used in dentistry. As part of this effort, she was instructed by then Forsyth Institute’s director, Dr. Jack Hein, to investigate fluoride toxicity. That’s where, as she puts it, “things got weird”.
The Forsyth Institute is a highly respected independent research institution, originally established in 1910 for the purpose of providing free dental care for the children of Boston in the US. Presently located ‘across the river’ in Cambridge, Forsyth is affiliated with Harvard School of Dental Medicine and has collaborations with university and research organizations around the world. Harvard dental students are required to take a portion of their training at Forsyth.
According to Dr. Mullenix, Dr. Hein – who was responsible for her assignment to fluoride toxicology studies – was also instrumental in some of the original research that led to the introduction of fluoride into toothpaste while he was working for Colgate.
Dr. Mullenix has said: “I wasn’t too excited about studying fluoride, because, quite frankly, it was ‘good for your teeth’ and all that, and I thought the studies would be basically just another control and I had no interest in fluoride.” However, because it was part of what she was hired to do, she said, and because she had just astounded the institute by achieving the unattainable – securing a grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the neurotoxicity of the treatments used for childhood leukaemia – she decided to incorporate the fluoride studies into the research grouping.
Mullenix said: “I was in the top four per cent in the country” for such funding. “The Institute was tickled pink, but I really had no idea what a quagmire I was getting into.”
For her toxicology studies Dr. Mullenix designed a computer pattern recognition system that was described by other scientists as nothing short of elegant in its ability to study fluoride’s effects on the neuromotor functions of rats.
Fluoride damaged the brains of test animals
“By about 1990 I had gathered enough data from the test and control animals,” Mullenix said, “to realise that fluoride doesn’t look clean.” When she reviewed that data she realized that fluoride was adversely affecting the brains of her test animals. They had all (except the non-fluoridated control group) been administered doses of fluoride sufficient to bring their blood levels up to the same as those that had caused dental fluorosis (brittleness and staining of the teeth) in thousands of children. Up to this point, Mullenix explained, fluorosis was widely thought to be the only effect of excessive fluoridation.
Dr. Mullenix’ first indication that her research – despite its objectivity – might not be at all popular came when she was asked to present her findings to the US National Institute of Dental Research, a division of NIH, the National Institutes of Health. “That’s when the ‘fun’ started,” she said, “I had no idea what I was getting into. I walked into the main corridors there and all over the walls was ‘The Miracle of Fluoride’. That was my first real kick-in-the-pants as to what was actually going on.”
The NIH display, she said, actually made fun of and ridiculed those that were against fluoridation. “I thought, ‘Oh great!’ Here’s the main NIH hospital talking about the ‘Miracle of Fluoride’ and I’m giving a seminar to the NIDR telling them that fluoride is neurotoxic!”
Evidence shows that fluoride reduces intelligence
What Dr. Mullenix presented at the seminar that, in reality, sounded the death knell of her career was that: “The fluoride pattern of behavioural problems matches up with the same results of administering radiation and chemotherapy [to cancer patients]. All of these really nasty treatments that are used clinically in cancer therapy are well known to cause IQ deficits in children. That’s one of the best studied effects they know of. The behavioural pattern that results from the use of fluoride matches that produced by cancer treatment that causes a reduction in intelligence.”
At a meeting with dental industry representatives immediately following her presentation, Mullenix was bluntly asked if she was saying that their company’s products were lowering the IQ of children. “And I told them, ‘basically, yes.’”
In 1994, after refining her research and findings, Dr. Mullenix sent her results to the Journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology, probably considered the world’s most respected publication in that field.1 Her findings clearly detailed the pre-natal and after birth developmental effects of fluoride in the rats she studied. Pre-birth doses administered to mother rats produced marked hyperactivity in their rat-pups. Postnatal administration of fluoride caused the infant rats to exhibit what Dr. Mullenix calls the “couch potato syndrome” – a malaise or absence of initiative and activity.
Three days after she happily announced to the Forsyth Institute that her results had been accepted for publication by a scientific journal (but not which one), she was dismissed from her position!
What followed was a complete evaporation of all grants and funding for any of Dr. Mullenix’s research. As nearly all university level scientific research is funded by grants from government and corporations, withholding all grants is the equivalent to an academic burial. Incredibly, she reports her dismissal letter from the Forsyth Institute stated as their reason for that action that her work was somehow not ‘dentally related’. Dr. Mullenix notes that the institute’s director stated ‘they didn’t consider the safety or the toxicity of fluoride as being their kind of science’. What a contradiction! If that’s the case, why was Dr. Mullenix assigned the study of fluoride toxicity in the first place if it was not ‘their kind of science’?
The Forsyth Institute and the NIH kept asking her which scientific journal had accepted her results for publication. Dr. Mullenix says she refused to disclose that information because she knew the purpose of this continual interrogation was so that they could attempt to quash its publication.
Almost immediately following her dismissal – and very likely ‘just a coincidence’, right? – the Forsyth Institute received a quarter-million dollar grant from the makers of a leading brand of fluoridated toothpaste. In another amazing coincidence following her dismissal, the scientist’s equipment and computers, designed specifically for the studies, were mysteriously damaged and destroyed by water leakage before she could remove them from the Forsyth Institute. (Reminds me of the fire which totally destroyed the factory which made Royal Rife’s cancer-curing ‘Beam Ray’ devices – cancer cures documented by faculty physicians at the University of Southern California. But that’s another topic for another time.)
Dr. Mullenix was then given an unfunded research position at Children’s Hospital in Boston, but with no equipment and no money! Dr. Mullenix told a reporter: “The people at Children’s Hospital, for heaven’s sake, came right out and said they were scared because they knew how important the fluoride issue was. Even at Forsyth they told me I was endangering funds for the institution if I published that information.”
Multi-study review backs Dr. Mullenix’s findings
Dr. Mullenix – a lone but honest scientific voice – lost her job by reporting the neurotoxicity of fluoride in experimental animals. Her work got no attention at all in the mainstream media which has also largely ignored the Environmental Protection Agency’s Union of Scientists anti-fluoridation recommendations (1999), the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science warnings about fluoride (2006), and now the multistudy review (‘meta-analysis’ for the technically inclined) by the Harvard School of Public Health (2012) which demonstrated a loss of IQ points in children exposed to fluoride in water. So forget the mainstream media! It’s time for all of us as parents and grandparents to demand directly at local meetings that our local water districts stop dumbing down our children!Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Jonathan V. Wright
Nutrition & Healing
Volume 7, Issue 7 – July 2013
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.