Over the past day, The Girl Against Fluoride, Aisling Fitzgibbon, posted this message in Facebook, where she attempted to link water fluoridation to leukaemia incidence in Ireland.
A pity she didn’t read on. The Irish Cancer Atlas contains a ton of information about the incidences of all sorts of cancers in Ireland. Leukaemia incidence is one of only a small number of cancers that shows a convenient distinction between north and south.
The leukaemia risk factors mentioned make no reference to water fluoridation. Ionising radiation is a strong risk factor, as are certain types of drugs or viruses.
The map itself even contradicts the thesis that fluoridation is linked to leukaemia. While fluoride is added to water schemes in Donegal, it has just as low a risk of leukaemia as Northern Ireland. In addition, the relative risk in the Republic does not seem to distinguish between state water schemes and wells or group schemes, where fluoridation levels may be different or absent altogether.
Other diagrams from the anti-fluoride lobby attempt to show similar linkages for prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and brain cancer, however in none of these cases is water fluoridation listed as a probable or even possible risk factor.
Whatever the causes of these cancers (and there can be multiple causes), they have nothing to do with water fluoridation. The geographical distribution of these cancers was carefully cherry picked by them, because they seemed to bolster their case. It doesn’t take much effort to show how mistaken this approach is.
More on The Girl Against Fluoride and her strange views on Geoff Short’s blog.
Update: Geoff has pointed me to this post from the National Cancer Registry, which supports my analysis here.
December 18, 2013 at 6:07 am
It would be useful if there was a graph of another type of cancer showing a higher incidence of it in the North. (I’m a bit sceptical that very low doses of radiation could be causing a noticeable rate of cancer. Where did that original data/study come from?)
December 18, 2013 at 7:20 am
Here’s an example: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: http://www.ncri.ie/atlas/85-mapping-and-geographical-variation.
All the references to the studies are available on the Cancer Atlas website.
December 18, 2013 at 6:31 am
The caped Cork skeptic crusader has bashed another outlandish claim once again.
Keep up the good work. Cork Skeptics, protecting the people of the world, whilst entertaining them, from the farce, the synister and the loco.