Index of Questionable Organizations
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Promoters of questionable health practices often form organizations to multiply their effectiveness. How can one tell which groups are reliable and which are not? There is no sure way, but several precautionary questions may help:
- Are its ideas inside the scientific mainstream? Some groups admit that they were formed because their founders felt alienated from the scientific community.
- Is it a real organization? Some entrepreneurs simply make up names for marketing purposes. If an "institute," "clinic," "laboratory," "research center," or professional-sounding "association" uses sensational claims to market products or services, it is probably a phony.
- What are its membership requirements? Is scientific expertise required—or just a willingness to pay dues? Some "institutes," "research" centers, and voluntary organizations are simply names adopted by an individual or a few people who wish to make their activities sound more respectable.
- Who are its leaders and advisors? The International Society for Fluoride Research may sound respectable, but it is actually an antifluoridation group.
- Does it promote a specific treatment or treatments? Most such groups should be highly suspect. A century ago, valid new ideas were hard to evaluate and often were rejected by the medical community. But today, effective new treatments are quickly welcomed by scientific practitioners and do not need special groups to promote them. A few groups promote a mixture of science-based and dubious practices.
- Does it oppose proven public health measures? Opposition to fluoridation and immunization are tipoffs to extremely poor judgment. The names of such organizations sometimes fail to reveal their true purpose. "Pure water" and "Safe Water" groups nearly always have dishonest opposition to fluoridation as their central focus. The Preventive Dental Health Association is opposed to the use of amalgam fillings as well as to fluoridation.
- Does it espouse a version of "freedom of choice" that would abolish government regulation of the health marketplace? Such "freedom" is nothing more than a ploy to persuade legislators to permit the marketing of quack methods without legal restraints. Consumers for Dental Choice, for example, is seeking an end toward what it calls "discrimination" against dentists who advise patients to have their amalgam fillings removed.
Incidentally, neither accreditation nor affiliation with an otherwise reputable university provides any guarantee of reliability. The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes agencies that accredit schools of chiropractic, acupuncture/oriental medicine, and astrology, with little regard to the validity of what they teach. Several universities have centers or institutes that promote health-related nonsense.
The list below includes groups we distrust that are involved directly or indirectly with dental matters. Most are opposed to fluoridation and/or the use of amalgam fillings. If you would like to nominate others, please contact me.
Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (AABDB)
American Academy of Environmenal Medicine
American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)
American CranioSacral Therapy Association (ACSTA)
American Endodontic Society (AES) (promotes Sargenti technique)
Australasian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (ASOMAT)
Environmental Dental Association
Holistic Dental Association
International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT)
International Society for Fluoride Research
Maxillofacial Center for Diagnostics and Research
Americans Against Mercury
Citizens for Mercury Relief
Coalition of Americans against Mercury
Consumers for Dental Choice
Dental Amalgam Syndromes (DAMS)
Fluoride Action Network
National Pure Water Association (NPWA)
National Vaccine Information Center
People's Dental Association
Preventive Dental Health Association (PDHA)
Foundations, Institutes, and Educational Organizations
Autism Research Institute
Foundation for Toxic Free Dentistry
Institute for Dental Wellness
Institute of Natural Dentistry
International Cranial-TMJ Academy
Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
Toxic Element Research Foundation
Toxic Exposure Study Trust (TEST) Foundation
Weston A. Price Foundation
This page was revised on February 20, 2008.