Ken Perrott

Dr Ken Perrott trained as a chemist and his research background is in surface chemistry, soil science and fertiliser chemistry. After working in the DSIR (Chemistry Division and Soil Bureau), MAF, MAFTech and AgResearch he is now retired. Ken enjoys discussion of the wider social and philosophical issue surrounding science. Unfortunately these issues are often misrepresented in our society and he believe scientists have a responsibility to counter unscientific thinking and movements. This is one of the reasons Ken got into blogging, starting up Open Parachute in the middle of 2007.

Not just another rat study - Open Parachute

May 09, 2018

A new high-quality study of the effect of fluoride on the memory and learning behaviour of rats has produced definitive results. Anti-fluoride campaigners had great hopes this study would bring an end to community water fluoridation (CWF) – but their hopes have been dashed. The study showed no effect of fluoride on the memory, learning and motor skills of rats thus reinforcing the consensus that CWF is safe. Animal experiments are commonly used to investigate possible health effects of chemicals like fluoride. This enables strict research protocols without the ethical problems faced by human studies. Consequently, there have been a large number of investigations of the effect of fluoride on animals. Some of these have suggested harmful effects. The US anti-fluoride activist organisation, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) lists 45 studies “where mice or rats treated with fluoride were found to suffer impairments in their learning and/or memory … Read More

April ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

May 01, 2018

I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing please check this out. Send me the URL for your site meter and I can correct the information in the database. Similarly, if your blog data in this list seems out of whack, please check your site meter. Usually, the problem is that for some reason your site meter is no longer working. Sitemeter is no longer working so the total number of NZ blogs in this list has been drastically reduced. I recommend anyone with Sitemeter consider transferring to one of the other meters. See  NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. This list is composed automatically from the data in the various site meters used. Read More

Mainstream media-political alliance gets vindictive - Open Parachute

Apr 24, 2018

Hala Jaber, highly Respected Middle East correspondent and author of  The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles: A Woman’s Fight to Save Two Orphans.” Image Credit: Goodreads. Several things have come together in the last few months – centred around news about the war in Syria, chemical weapons, the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and the ongoing geopolitical information war: Government propaganda and claims have become more aggressive – particularly from the UK and USA; Syria and chemical weapons have become central to the Russophobic arguments of these governments; The mainstream media has enthusiastically and unquestioningly promoted these claims; Alternative media, journalists and critics of this propaganda and government policies are being singled out for personal attack, and Readers and viewers are aggressively being directed away from alternative news sources. OK,  readers here will have picked up … Read More

Anti-fluoridationist Paul Connett misrepresents NZ data - Open Parachute

Apr 12, 2018

Here is another post in my series critiquing a PowerPoint presentation of Paul Connett – a leading US anti-fluoridation activist. Slide 110 from Paul Connett’s presentation prepared for his planned meeting at Parliament Buildings last February. Paul prepared this for a meeting in New Zealand Parliament buildings last February. Although only three MPs turned up his presentation is important as it summarises almost all the arguments used by anti-fluoridation activists. Connett claims NZ data shows fluoridation ineffective Connett argues the evidence community water fluoridation (CWF) is effective in reducing tooth decay is weak. He covers this in slides 96-110 but in this post I will deal only with the New Zealand evidence he uses (slides 108-110).  Paul’s presentation can be downloaded for those wishing to look at it in detail – see Prof Paul Connett Power Point Presentation to Parliament 22nd Feb 2018. The … Read More

Anti-fluoridationists rejection of IQ studies in fluoridated area. - Open Parachute

Apr 04, 2018

US anti-fluoride activist Paul Connett claims studies cannot detect an IQ effect from fluoridated water because total fluoride intake is the real problem – but still campaigns against community water fluoridation. Image credit: MSoF “Activist Spouts Nonsense – The Evidence Supports Fluoridation” This is another article in my critique of the presentation Paul Connett prepared to present to a meeting at Parliament in February. I deal with his coverage of the studies of IQ effects where community water fluoridation (CWF) is used. There are now actually three such studies (Broadbent et al. 2015, Barberio et al. 2017  and  Aggeborn & Öhman 2016), but Connett pretends there is only one – the Broadbent et al. (2015) New Zealand study. Maybe because it was the first one to provide evidence challenging his extrapolation of the fluoride/IQ studies (see The 52 … Read More

March ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking - Open Parachute

Apr 02, 2018

Image credit: PABLO HELGUERA – Classical Cartoon At Noon: If Wagner Had A Blog I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing please check this out. Send me the URL for your site meter and I can correct the information in the database. Similarly, if your blog data in this list seems out of whack, please check your site meter. Usually, the problem is that for some reason your site meter is no longer working. Sitemeter is no longer working so the total number of NZ blogs in this list has been drastically reduced. I recommend anyone with Sitemeter consider transferring to one of the other meters. See  NZ Blog Rankings FAQ. This … Read More

A conference paper on the maternal neonatal urinary fluoride/child IQ study has problems - Unsorted

Mar 30, 2018

Image credit: Do new mothers doing a Ph.D. get enough support? The anti-fluoride movement has certainly mobilised over the neonatal maternal urinary fluoride study which reported an association with child IQ. They see it as the best thing since sliced bread and believe it should lead to the end of fluoridation worldwide. They also seem to be putting all their eggs in this one basket and have started a campaign aimed at stopping pregnant women from drinking fluoridated water (See Warning to Pregnant Women: Do Not Drink Fluoridated Water). So I was not surprised to see a newsletter this morning from the Fluoride Action Network reporting another output from this study – a conference paper (most likely a poster) presented at the  3rd Early Career Researchers Conference on Environmental Epidemiology. The meeting was in Freising, Germany, on 19-20 March 2018. I … Read More

The 52 IQ studies used by anti-fluoride campaigners - Open Parachute

Mar 28, 2018

Slide number 30 from Paul Connett presentation prepared for a talk at NZ Parliament buildings in February 2018. Continuing my critique of the presentation prepared by Paul Connett for his much-publicised meeting at Parliament Building in February. The meeting attracted only three MPs but his presentation is useful as it presents all the arguments anti-fluoride campaigners rely on at the moment. My previous articles on this presentation are Anti-fluoride activist commits “Death by PowerPoint” and Paul Connett’s misrepresentation of maternal F exposure study debunked. In this article, I deal with the argument presented in the slide above. it is an argument repeated again and again by activists. Connett has posted a more detailed list of these studies and his description of them in Fluoride & IQ: The 52 Studiesat the Fluoride Action Network website. Studies in areas of endemic … Read More

Why is it so difficult to get an open discussion on fluoridation? - Open Parachute

Mar 22, 2018

Yes, I know – everyone’s mind is already made up so participants just talk past each other. People’s positions on this and similar issues have become a matter of identity – people are driven by emotions, not information. But, the information is there – and while I agree many people are driven by emotions they often attempt to use that information to support their positions. In a sense, the information acts as a proxy for their real driving force – their emotions. Nevertheless, I have always considered a good-faith scientific exchange on issues like this is possible. I believe the exchange I had with Paul Connett, a US anti-fluoride campaigner, four years ago was a good example of what is possible (see Fluoride Debate or download Connett & Perrott (2014) – the pdf document of the exchange). So, I always look for the … Read More

Mary Byrne’s criticism is misplaced and avoids the real issues - Open Parachute

Mar 14, 2018

First, thanks to Mary Byrne and FFNZ for this response (see Anti-fluoride group coordinator responds to my article). Hopefully, this will help encourage some good faith scientific discussion of the issues involved in my original article (Paul Connett’s misrepresentation of maternal F exposure study debunked). I am pleased to promote such scientific exchange. I will deal with the issues Mary raised point by point. But first, let’s correct some misunderstandings. Mary claimed I am a “fluoride promoter” and had “sought to discredit the study via his blog posts and tweets.” I do not “promote fluoride.” My purpose on this issue has always been to expose the misinformation and distortion of the science surrounding community water fluoridation (CWF). I leave promotion of health policies to the health experts and authorities. I have not “sought to discredit the study.” The article Mary responded to … Read More