Controversial Study Links Fluoride in Water to Lower IQ

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Aqua Water

While the authors report a 1 mg/L increase in maternal urinary fluoride is associated with a 4.5 lower IQ score in boys, Professor McAlonan said the average difference in fluoride levels between people living in low- and high-fluoride areas is about 0.3 mg/L.

Water fluoridation may not be as good for you as you previously thought.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is present in almost all water sources and is associated with reduced tooth decay.

Two out of every three USA residents now live in an area with fluoridated water, compared with 38% of Canadians and 3% of Europeans, the researchers said in background notes. They also calculated fluoride consumption based on how much is in a city's water supply and how much women recalled drinking.

A study published Monday suggests that fluoride consumed by pregnant women can decrease the IQ of their children.

Fluoride has been defended as a beneficial nutrient for all classes. "Collectively, these findings support that fluoride exposure during pregnancy may be associated with neurocognitive effects".

Experiments in water fluoridation began in the early 20th century, and over time its opponents came to be seen as quacks: the 1964 satirical film "Dr Stranglove" features an unhinged general who believes fluoridation is a Communist conspiracy against the US.

In an email to CNN, Dr. Pamela Den Besten, a professor in the University of California San Francisco's School of Dentistry, said, 'Fluoride remains a safe and effective tool for caries prevention.' Den Besten has studied the role of fluoride in fluorosis, a condition that results from excess exposure to fluoride. However, few studies have been performed during pregnancy.

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. That's likely because self-reported fluoride intake dealt specifically with fluoride consumed through beverages, meaning kids were likely exposed to the same water as they grew up.

Until more information is available on the risks of fluoride exposure during pregnancy, study coauthor Christine Till of York University, tells NPR, "w$3 e recommend that women reduce their fluoride intake during pregnancy".

"My bias, given the findings of this and other studies, is to focus on the delivery of fluoride through strategies that do not require the fluoride to be ingested", she said.

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However, experts say fluoride can be risky in high concentrations. Girls tested significantly higher for IQ compared to boys.

Children participants were then tested using the Wechslet Primary and Preschool Scale of Intelligence-III to determine FSIQ, as well as verbal IQ (which represents verbal reasoning and comprehension) and performance IQ (which represents nonverbal reasoning, spatial processing and visual motor-skills). She was also concerned over how much fluoride is in black tea according to this study, and will be telling patients to cut back on its intake.

The authors discovered that for each additional 1 milligram per liter in the concentration of fluoride in a mother's urine, there was a 4.5-point drop in IQ in males. "Similar to avoiding sushi and alcohol, we should caution mothers-to-be to limit their fluoride exposure to promote the health and well-being of their developing child". The average urinary fluoride levels in non-fluoridated areas is 0.4mg/L, while in higher areas, it is nearly 0.7mg/L, a difference of only 0.3mg/L, ' McAlonan said.

For boys, in particular, there was a 4.5-point lower IQ score for every 1mg/L increase.

The difference was typically a couple of IQ points, though the spread was wider when comparing those with highest exposure and those with the least.

The median MUFSG concentration was 0.41 mg/L. The study didn't discover such a significant association in female youngsters, nor did it study why boys have been more significantly affected.

Earlier this year, Evans shared a podcast from a prominent U.S. 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.

The researchers said their findings indicate a possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy. "I don't think we are there yet in terms of fluoride neurotoxicity, but the results of this study move the needle in that direction", said Bellinger, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report.

Anticipating controversy, JAMA Pediatrics took the unusual step of issuing an Editor's Note that said the decision to publish the article was "not easy".

Reactions to this finding varied, predictably. But it's not really about water fluoridation. Nonetheless, the fact that such a finding survived the expert scrutiny of the editorial team should ensure its contribution to the evidence about fluoride. While the study shows a significant correlation between heightened fluoride exposure and lower IQ scores in children, further studies are necessary to assess its impact on different races/ethnicities and associated learning disabilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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