Could Fluoride Be Bad for Baby During Pregnancy?
By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, Aug. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Fluoride exposure from drinking water during pregnancy could be making children less intelligent, a new Canadian study argues.
Expectant moms with higher levels of fluoride in their urine tended to have kids with lower average IQs, based on a study of 601 mother-child pairs from six cities in Canada.
On average, a 1 milligram-per-liter increase in maternal urinary fluoride was associated with a 4.5-point lower IQ score in boys by the time they reached ages 3 to 4, researchers report.
“Four and a half IQ points is of substantial societal and economic concern,” said senior researcher Christine Till, an associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. “We’re talking a magnitude that’s comparable to what we’re talking about when we talk about lead exposure.
“You would have millions of more children falling into the range of intellectual disability with IQ scores of less than 70, and that many fewer kids in the gifted range,” Till concluded.
However, the researchers only found an association, due to the observational nature of the study. It was published Aug. 19 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Debate over fluoridation has simmered since cities began adding the mineral to public water supplies in the 1950s, Till said.
Two out of every three U.S. residents now live in an area with fluoridated water, compared with 38% of Canadians and 3% of Europeans, the researchers said in background notes.