• Dr. David Alfaro

Article Review: Fluoride in the Pineal Gland of the Goosander

I am not kidding. I have actually had to read up on the effect of fluoride on the pineal gland of a Merganser. Believe it or not, this article often up comes when when people are discussing the harmful effects of fluoride on the brain. So here is my review of it. Find the article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10653-014-9615-6

Once upon a time (2010), in an estuary in Poland with confirmed pollution due to decades of effluence from mills and chemical and fertilizer plants, 45 Goosanders became trapped in a fishing net and alas became expired, and researchers decided that it was a great idea to freeze them, chop out their brains and bones, and then to measure the fluoride content of these organs/tissues. Poor birds.

What these researchers found was that fluoride indeed accumulated in the bones and the pineal glands of these birds, and to a much lesser extent, within their brains. This is not new information; bones, teeth and the pineal gland are all tissues that have calcifications, and fluoride is well known to bind to these minerals.

That is really the extent of this study: they measured the amount of fluoride in these tissues. There was no assessment to see if the birds were sick, if they were neurologically or physically impaired, if they had reproductive damage, if the fluoride caused the calcifications,....nothing. These birds simply died because of dumb human error.

In fact....the authors presented various references that indicated that the effect of fluoride on these birds is not even really known. They state, "The causes of such a high concentration of F- in the brain of wild ducks and the potential effects on this most crucial organ are not known." And also, "there are no known and environmental consequences of this phenomenon in birds."

Yet........the authors conclude that "The total negative effect of these trace elements and

F- and their interactions in the bodies of birds may be one of the environmental reasons for the drastic decrease in the number of some species around the Szczecin Lagoon, including the goosander and the velvet scoter."

While this article does reference other studies looking at the potential harmful effects of fluoride, it does not provide any primary evidence to support those claims. It is merely a study looking at the concentrations of fluoride within the tissues of these birds and had no further evaluation on their health status. For them to jump to the conclusion that fluoride is contributing to the decline in bird population is dramatic, is not supported by their findings, and demonstrates their bias. It is a statement that should have been re-evaluated at peer review.

And of course....it is that final line of the article that will get cited over and over again by people trying to prove that fluoride is bad for your brain.....even though this article does nothing to prove that fluoride is causing these calcifications, or that these calcifications are causing any harm to the birds.

It is frustrating to have to even consider this article as an argument against brushing one's teeth with fluoride toothpaste but it is the sad reality of the pervasiveness of logical fallacies and misinformation.

Please do not stop brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste because of this article.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Dave

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