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>  News Releases >   2002 >   July

Research on animal behavior re-examined by Dartmouth Professor

Posted 07/01/02

Fluoridation Chemicals May Contribute to Impulsive Behavior

By re-analyzing data from a previous study on mouse behavior, Dartmouth Research Professor Roger Masters has found more evidence of a link between impulsive behavior and two chemicals, fluosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride, often used to fluoridate public water supplies.

Masters examined data from a mouse behavior study published three years ago by Crabbe, Wahsten and Dudek. Originally reported in SCIENCE magazine (4 June 1999; Vol. 284, pp. 1670-72), these authors studied the reliability of behavioral research on animals by running six different experiments on eight strains of mice in three different laboratories. Using identical methods in Albany, N.Y. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Portland, Ore., the authors found that "despite standardization, there were systematic differences in behavior across labs."

Masters re-analyzed the data from this study, in which all animals were given "tap water." Based on previous research on the behavioral effects of chemicals in public water supplies, Masters wondered whether the use of fluosilicic acid in Edmonton and its absence at the other sites might contribute to the behavioral inconsistencies. Of the 32 test results (four experiments done with eight strains of mice) in each lab, 75 percent showed mice were "most active" when the experiments were conducted in Edmonton.

In humans, loss of impulse control (hyperactivity, substance abuse and violent crime) has been associated with the exposure to silicofluoride-treated water. Since the mice in Edmonton were exposed to silicofluoride-treated water, this might be the link to explain their different behavior.

Masters presented his analysis at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society's annual meeting at Rutgers University on June 21. "We need more research and public understanding," he says. "Silicofluorides are possibly the most dangerous public toxin since leaded gasoline. I'd like to see an immediate moratorium on silicofluoride usage until their safety has been thoroughly demonstrated by independent scientists."

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