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Fluoride Can Cause Cancer

  • Published: 2011-09-16 : Author: Fluoride Action Network
  • Synopsis: Association between fluoride and various cancers including evidence that fluoride can increase risk of osteosarcoma a type of bone cancer in boys and young men.

Main Document

Association between fluoride and various cancers including evidence that fluoride can increase risk of osteosarcoma a type of bone cancer in boys and young men.

Many published human and animal studies have reported an association between fluoride and various cancers, including valid and un-refuted scientific evidence that fluoride can increase the risk of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in boys and young men, reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) in its recent submission to the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). (1)

Fluoride is commonly added to municipal water supplies and dental products with the intention of reducing tooth decay. However, current scientific evidence shows that swallowing fluoride does much more harm than good.

OEHHA requested public comments on its recently-released document "Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Fluoride and Its Salts," (2) where OEHHA states:

"multiple lines of evidence...appear to support several plausible hypotheses: that fluoride is incorporated into bones...where it can stimulate cell division of osteoblasts [bone-forming cells]...; induce genetic changes; induce other cellular changes leading to malignant transformation, and alter cellular immune response...thereby increasing the risk of development of osteosarcomas" (our emphasis).

The Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) of OEHHA's Science Advisory Board is scheduled to review the carcinogenicity status of fluoride on October 12-13.

FAN Executive Director Paul Connett, Ph.D., says, "Special interest groups are already protecting fluoride rather than the people who are consuming it." For example, the American Dental Association recently gave the California Dental Association $200,000 "to assist in our effort to prevent the placement of 'fluoride and its salts' on the List of Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer" (3).

Organized dentistry must overcome the following inconvenient facts if it continues to assert fluoridation is safe for everyone:

According to the National Research Council's (NRC) 2006 Fluoride in Drinking Water report, "fluoride appears to have the potential to initiate or promote cancers, particularly of the bone ... osteosarcoma is of particular concern ..."

Bassin et al. (2006) reported in Cancer Causes and Control that fluoride exposure is linked to an increased risk of osteosarcoma in boys and young men.

Bassin's Harvard University doctoral adviser, Chester Douglass, signed off on Bassin's results, but then promised his larger study would refute Bassin's findings. However, Douglass's study, when finally published in the Journal of Dental Research (7/28/11), was seriously flawed and incapable of refuting Bassin's results. (4)

Connett says, "Douglass's 'financial ties to corporations profiting from fluoride sales make Douglass's involvement with any study related to fluoride and health effects a serious conflict of interest.'"

But Bassin's isn't the only study linking fluoride with an increased risk of cancer.

In 1990 the National Toxicology Program (NTP) reported an increase in osteosarcoma in male rats exposed to fluoride, an increased risk for liver and oral cancers, and an increase in thyroid follicular cell tumors.

Among human studies, Hoover et al. (1991) found a 79% increase in osteosarcoma in males under 20 years old in fluoridated counties, compared to a 4% decrease in non-fluoridated counties over time.

Cohn (1992) similarly reported an increased risk for osteosarcoma in males under age 20 living in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated counties.

Also, the NRC recommends further research be conducted on the effects of fluoride on the risk of bladder cancer.

In addition, the most commonly used fluoridation chemicals (silicofluorides) have been linked with increased levels of lead in children's blood, according to Kathleen Thiessen, Ph.D., a risk analysis professional who has served on two NRC subcommittees dealing with fluoride toxicology.

Thiessen's submission to CIC states: "[U.S.] EPA considers lead to be a probable human carcinogen...there is considered to be no safe level of lead exposure, and the MCLG [maximum contaminant level goal] for lead is zero. OEHHA should be aware that silicofluoride use is associated with increased blood levels of a human carcinogen (one that is also associated with neurotoxicity and developmental toxicity), apart form the carcinogenicity of fluoride itself." (5)

FAN's submission concludes: "While we understand that there will be tremendous pressure put on the CIC and OEHHA by the proponents of fluoride and fluoridation, we ask that the Committee continue to rely on its high level of scientific knowledge and integrity when deliberating and reaching a final conclusion on the carcinogenicity status of fluoride and its salts."


FAN (Fluoride Action Network). 2011. Comments on Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Fluoride and Its Salts. 6 Sept 2011. Online at:

OEHHA (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment). 2011. Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Fluoride and Its Salts. California Environmental Protection Agency, Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. July 2011. Online at:

CDA (California Dental Association). 2010. CDA Receives ADA State Public Affairs Program Grants. Executive bulletin from the desk of Executive Director Peter DuBois. January 12.

FAN (Fluoride Action Network). 2011. New Study Fails to Refute Fluoride- Osteosarcoma Link. Press release August 02, 2011. Online at:

Thiessen, K.M. 2011. Comments in Response to Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Fluoride and Its Salts, July 2011. 6 Sept 2011. Online at:

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3 : Genetic Explanation For Higher Cancer Rates in Males Than Females : Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
4 : Tobacco Use Accounts For 40% of All Cancers Diagnosed in US : U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
5 : How Cancer spreads in the Body - Unexpected Findings Reveal Insight : Queen Mary University of London.
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