Pete Evans’ crazy new claims
Pete Evans has once again been told to stick to celebrity cheffing and stay out of scientific debate after he came out in support of a new controversial study.
Research out today in US medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found pregnant women who drank fluoridated water had babies with a lower IQ.
Not one to shy away from a controversial stance, Evans told the Herald Sun: "This has been known for ages, and this is just the tip of that iceberg.
"Fluoride is a known neurotoxin and it should not be put in our water supply.
"If people choose to add fluoride then it should be their choice to do so. I cannot wait for it to be eliminated from being added to Australian water supplies."
Experts were quick to rubbish Evans' comments and the researchers' claims that pregnant women should avoid fluoridated water, or that it should be removed from our supply entirely.
Associate Professor Matt Hopcraft, the chief executive of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch, said Evans should stick to what he knew.
"I think we should take public health advice from the experts and he should probably stick to the celebrity cheffing and leave public health policy to the experts," he told news.com.au.
"Of course Pete is going to jump on board and say this is the silver bullet - as a lot of anti-fluoridationists will - but overwhelmingly there's no evidence to link water fluoridation with health concerns."
The study followed 601 Canadian children from six major cities born between 2008 and 2012, 41 per cent of which lived in communities supplied with fluoridated water.
Data was analysed between March 2017 and January 2019 and found maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged thee to four years old.
"These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy," its authors concluded.
But experts across the country noted how the researchers pointed out their methods had not yet been validated.
Dr Kristina Cain, of Queensland's Refresh Dental Spa, said there were significant scientific questions about the efficacy of the study.
"I find it hard to take Pete Evan's opinion seriously when he isn't a dentist who has seen kids with rotten teeth in the non-fluoridated towns compared to the happy, healthy kids in fluoridated areas," she told news.com.au.
"Dentists have a moral and ethical obligation to the community and its health and are effectively putting ourselves out of business by advocating water fluoridation. That has to stand for something."
Doctors and dentists are largely in support of fluoridated water, with the National Health and Medical Research Council finding its addition to the water supply has reduced tooth decay by up to 44 per cent.
Dr Michael Foley, spokesman for the Australian Dental Association, said anything was toxic if you had enough of it - water, oxygen, calcium, iron, salt and even caffeine.
"Does this mean we shouldn't drink coffee? Of course not," he said.
"Caffeine is neurotoxic, but only at levels much higher than in a cup of coffee. Another neurotoxin is alcohol, and it's strongly associated with higher risks of cancer.
"Does this mean that we shouldn't have a beer or a glass of wine? Most of us will
happily have an occasional drink of wine, and as long as we don't overdo it, the risk of harm to our health is minimal."
One of few to support Evans' view was Dr Mark Diesendorf, an honorary associate professor in the environmental humanities group at Sydney's University of NSW.
"I'm opposed to fluoridation also, I must admit, but I wouldn't come to that conclusion (to remove fluoride from water) on the present study alone," he said.
"There's a lot of other related studies that are entirely consistent with this, in the way of developmental neurological effects.
"I would argue pregnant women and also women feeding with formula should not use fluoridated water. There's enough to be worried. We are now at a stage where this is something of concern."
An editor's note published with the research even pointed out the "decision to publish this article was not easy".
"Given the nature of the findings and their potential implications, we subjected it to additional scrutiny for its methods and the presentation of its findings," paediatrician Dimitri Christakis wrote.
"The mission of the journal is to ensure that child health is optimised by bringing the best available evidence to the fore.
"Publishing it serves as testament to the fact that JAMA Pediatrics is committed to disseminating the best science based entirely on the rigour of the methods and the soundness of the hypotheses tested, regardless of how contentious the results may be."
Evans has come under fire in the past for his contentious views, with the My Kitchen Rules host a longtime medicinal cannabis advocate.
Earlier this year, Evans shared a podcast from a prominent US anti-vaxxer, urging his followers to listen to the podcast, which referred to doctors as "prostitutes" and made a number of false claims about vaccinated children.
Evans also referred to types of sunscreen as toxic in 2016 and has made a number of claims over the years about diet and connections to illnesses like osteoporosis.
In June 2018, the Australian Medical Association called for his documentary The Magic Pill to be removed from Netflix after his claims a ketogenic diet could benefit cancer sufferers and those with autism.