A recently-published Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have "significantly lower" IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas. In a 32-page report, the researchers concluded:
Findings from our meta-analyses of 27 studies published over 22 years suggest an inverse association between high fluoride exposure and children's intelligence ... The results suggest that fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development at exposures much below those that can cause toxicity in adults ...
Serum-fluoride concentrations associated with high intakes from drinking-water may exceed 1 mg/L, or 50 Smol/L, thus more than 1000-times the levels of some other neurotoxicants that cause neurodevelopmental damage. Supporting the plausibility of our findings, rats exposed to 1 ppm (50 Smol/L) of water-fluoride for one year showed morphological alterations in the brain and increased levels of aluminum in brain tissue compared with controls ...
In conclusion, our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment. Future research should formally evaluate dose-response relations based on individual-level measures of exposure over time, including more precise prenatal exposure assessment and more extensive standardized measures of neurobehavioral performance, in addition to improving assessment and control of potential confounders.
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This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 8