Excess fluoride, which may damage both brain and bone, is leaching out of granite and into Maine’s drinking water—and potentially other New England states
… Like the majority of the state, many of Dedham’s denizens rely on private wells for the water they drink, bathe in and perhaps use to make infant milk formula.
… newly available data, released in recent months, indicates that in some 10 communities in the state wells harbor dangerously high levels of fluoride. In some cases, the wells contain more than double the level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed the acceptable maximum exposure level.
.. But at higher levels, fluoride can lead to pitted teeth and discoloration. It also makes bones brittle and more prone to fractures. And recent studies have also linked high levels of fluoride exposure with IQ deficits. A 2012 review article examined some two dozen relevant studies performed outside the U.S.—mostly in China but also a couple in Iran—and found that high fluoride exposures reduce children’s IQs by an average of about seven points. (The studies did not all account for exposures to other potentially harmful substances such as lead, but the sheer volume of them does raise concerns about this association.)
Mainers may be sipping similar amounts of fluoride. “The sort of levels we’re talking about that are high in China are the sort of levels we see in some private wells,” says Andrew Smith, Maine state toxicologist…
The potential health concerns around arsenic are so much better publicized than fluoride, suggesting that fewer people will protect themselves from excessive fluoride concentrations. Yet Mainers should. “The studies of high fluoride should be taken seriously,” says Harvard University environmental health professor David Bellinger. “We have a long history of first identifying adverse effects at high levels and then, with further and better studies, discovering that there are adverse effects [milder] at levels that we thought were okay.”