(WASHINGTON, Aug. 16) — A closed-door Harvard University panel said yesterday that professor Chester Douglass "did not intentionally omit, misrepresent or suppress research results" of a fluoride bone cancer study. But Environmental Working Group (EWG), whose questions triggered the investigation, said the panel's brief statement sidestepped the question of whether Douglass did in fact omit, misrepresent, or suppress critical data that show a strong link between bone cancer in adolescent boys and fluoride in tap water.
The panel's announcement came in the form of a four-paragraph statement. The panel's report, like the proceeding that produced it, is secret and not available to the public.
The data in question, which have since been published in a peer-reviewed journal by four Harvard professors and PhDs, strongly rebut Douglass's position and reveal a highly significant relationship between bone cancer in boys and fluoride in tap water.
"This excuse is so tortured, you can see why it took a bunch of Harvard professors a year to concoct it. Are we to believe that Dr. Douglass somehow forgot about the results of research that he signed-off on, that completely contradicted what he'd told taxpayers and public officials about bone cancer in boys and drinking fluoridated water?" said Richard Wiles, Senior Vice President of EWG.
"Whether or not Dr. Douglass intentionally suppressed and misrepresented these data is irrelevant," said Wiles. "He deceived the public and health officials about critical research findings for years, and hundreds of boys suffered the consequences."
The Harvard panel also brushed aside a clear conflict on interest stemming from the fact that Douglass is a paid consultant for the toothpaste industry, a major user of fluoride. "It is a sad day for Harvard when such a blatant financial conflict of interest is acceptable, particularly when the health of children is at stake," said Wiles.
Environmental Working Group, which brought the issue to light, was never contacted by the Harvard panel.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit research group based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect public health and the environment. The Group's research on fluoride is available online at https://www.ewg.org/issues/siteindex/issues.php?issueid=5031. A Boston Fox-TV story showing Harvard's Dr. Douglass waving a draft copy of the University's report on his conduct is viewable online at https://www.ewg.org/news/video.php?id=5065.