For those who need even more evidence that dumping fluoride in our water supply in the name of “health” is a really bad idea, we just got more evidence that dumping fluoride in our water supply is a really bad idea.
A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between IQ and exposure to high levels of fluoride in utero.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 300 mother-child pairs in Mexico. The mothers’ fluoride levels were determined via urine sample. Children were followed until they were between the ages of 6 and 12. As Medical Daily reported,
Even when other possible factors were taken into account, such as exposure to other chemicals, results continually showed that higher prenatal fluoride exposure was linked to lower scores on tests of cognitive function in children at age 4 and then again between 6 and 12.
Unsurprisingly, pro-fluoride dentists have scrambled to assure any patients who ask about this study that, no matter what, fluoride is still a-okay. So far, this seems to have mostly consisted of saying, “This study has limitations!”
Of course it does. Every study does. There’s no way to account for every possible variable or secure every type of relevant data. All studies are necessarily limited. Every study needs to be confirmed – or negated – by subsequent research. It’s how science works.
In this case, perhaps the most significant limitation is that, as CNN reported,
Because the study evaluated samples that had been collected for other studies, researchers weren’t able to determine specific levels of fluoride exposure.
“That’s a big unknown. We don’t have the whole picture,” said Dr. Angeles Martinez-Mier of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, another researcher involved with the study.
However, despite…limitations, this is one of the most rigorous studies to look at fluoride and neurodevelopment, [lead author Howard] Hu said. It is the largest and longest study to evaluate fluoride exposure and its impact on the developing brain.
And it’s not just the study’s authors who say that. Again, Medical Daily:
“This is a very well-conducted study, and it raises serious concerns about fluoride supplementation in water,” says Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician who studies potential links between environmental exposures and health problems at New York University Langone Health. (He was not involved in the new study.)
Trasande emphasizes that the levels of fluoride seen among the mothers in this study are slightly higher than what would be expected in U.S., based on current fluoride supplementation levels. However, he also explains that fluoride is known to disrupt thyroid function, which in turn is crucial for brain development.
“These new insights raise concerns that the prenatal period may be highly vulnerable and may require additional reconsideration,” Trasande says.
And reinforce the need to finally bring an end to fluoridation, urges Dr. Paul Connett:
We feel it can’t come soon enough.
Image by jenny downing, via Wikimedia Commons