This is a shorter version of a longer article with the same title. FAN respectively disagrees with Dr Savitz. Most of the problems that the NAS had with the NTP study dealt with how the animal studies were handled, not with the human studies. Surprisingly, Dr Savitz did not acknowledge that several important studies have been published since the NTP review – see FAN’s Press Release. (EC)
The conclusion of a recent, widely publicized draft report linking higher fluoride exposure to decreased intelligence quotient (IQ) is not satisfactorily supported by the evidence, an expert committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has determined.
The 2019 draft report, which was based on a large, systematic review by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and was reported by Medscape Medical News, concluded that there is evidence of an association between fluoride exposure and cognitive neurodevelopmental problems in children.
There are a number of concerns about the methods the NTP used to evaluate studies in its review, committee chair David A. Savitz, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island, told Medscape Medical News.
Most notably, it was not clear that the evidence presented in the report’s tables and other materials warrants the authors’ conclusion about fluoride exposure and IQ, said Savitz.
However, he added, this does not mean that the review’s conclusion is incorrect.
“Although we found problems with the review, we’re not saying the conclusion is wrong or right; we’re saying that the report doesn’t provide the trail of evidence and logic that would be desired to reach a conclusion,” he said.
Major Public Health Advance
Fluoride, which comes from fluroine, is an abundant element found naturally in the environment. It has been proven to prevent tooth decay. As a result, it has been added to community water supplies for decades and is present in some consumer products, including toothpaste.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized community water fluoridation as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
However, some experts claim fluoride exposure can have adverse effects on health. A 2006 review of the literature by the NAS concluded that long-term exposure to fluoride can cause enamel fluorosis and weakening of bone that could increase fracture risk.
At the time, studies of the potential neurotoxicity from fluoride exposure lacked sufficient detail, making a definitive conclusion impossible. The NAS determined that the consistency of the results on neurotoxicity warranted further investigation.
Since publication of the 2006 report, there have been several epidemiologic studies of fluoride exposure and neurodevelopmental and cognitive effects. This prompted the NTP to take a closer look.
In a systematic review conducted in 2016, the NTP, which operates under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, found a low to moderate level of evidence that learning and memory deficits occur in nonhuman mammals exposed to fluoride.
*Original article online at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/926346