Fluoride Action Network

Dimitri Christakis, Editor of JAMA Pediatrics, on Fluoride

May 21st, 2020 | Fluoride Action Network

“I would advise them (pregnant women) to drink bottled water or filtered water…”

In August of 2019, the world’s premier pediatric journal, JAMA Pediatrics, published a U.S. government-funded study linking exposure to “optimally” fluoridated water during pregnancy to lowered IQ in the child (Green, 2019). JAMA Pediatrics editor, Dimitri Christakis, remarked on the significance of the study in an editorial note, noting the study’s rigor:

“This decision to publish this article was not easy. Given the nature of the findings and their potential implications, we subjected it to additional scrutiny for its methods and the presentation of its findings. The mission of the journal is to ensure that child health is optimized by bringing the best available evidence to the fore. Publishing it serves as testament to the fact that JAMA Pediatrics is committed to disseminating the best science based entirely on the rigor of the methods and the soundness of the hypotheses tested, regardless of how contentious the results may be. That said, scientific inquiry is an iterative process. It is rare that a single study provides definitive evidence. This study is neither the first, nor will it be the last, to test the association between prenatal fluoride exposure and cognitive development. We hope that purveyors and consumers of these findings are mindful of that as the implications of this study are debated in the public arena.”

The publication of the study was also accompanied by a podcast featuring the journal’s editors:

Twelve-minute podcast (above) featuring JAMA Pediatrics Editor in Chief, Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, and Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH, Editor in Chief of JAMA Network

In the podcast, Drs. Christakis and Rivara describe the study’s findings of lowered IQ as “very concerning”, observing that the neurological damage is on par with lead, while calling for additional NIH funding of more fluoride research. Before publication, the study was subjected to two statistical reviews, with researchers combing through data to make sure results were not skewed by the mothers’ education, income levels, or other factors. Most importantly, they recommend that pregnant women avoid drinking fluoridated water:

The effects of this study are comparable to the effects of lead, and if these findings are true there should be as much concern about prenatal fluoride exposure,” Christakis told The Daily Beast. “The question that needs to be asked to every pediatrician, scientist, and epidemiologist is what they’re going to tell pregnant women,” said Christakis, who says he will advise his pregnant friends and family to avoid fluoridated water. “We can’t tell them to wait years for another study.”