Fluoride Action Network

Infant Exposure

"Fluoride is now introduced at a much earlier stage of human development than ever before and consequently alters the normal fluoride-pharmacokinetics in infants. But can one dramatically increase the normal fluoride-intake to infants and get away with it?" - Dr. Jennifer Luke.


Of all age groups, the fetus is the most impacted by fluoride’s neurotoxicity. In a series of Mother-Offspring studies we learned that high levels of urinary fluoride in a pregnant woman has the potential to lower her offspring’s IQ. Of great concern is that pregnant women living in fluoridated communities have high urinary fluoride levels. Read a review of each of the six Mother-Offspring studies.

The next most vulnerable to fluoride’s toxicity is the infant and it’s due to their small size. Infants receive up to 400% more fluoride (per pound of body weight) than adults consuming the same level of fluoride in water. Not only do infants receive a larger dose, they have an impaired ability to excrete fluoride through their kidneys. Healthy adults can excrete more than 50% of an ingested fluoride dose; infants, by contrast, can only excrete 15 to 20%. This leads to a greater build-up of fluoride in the body, and may help explain why infants fed formula made with fluoridated water suffer higher rates of dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth caused by excessive fluoride ingestion during childhood.

Teeth are not the only tissue that can be affected by fluoride exposure during infancy. A baby’s blood brain barrier is not fully developed at birth, and this allows fluoride, a neurotoxin, greater access to the brain than in later periods in life. Over 30 studies have associated elevated fluoride exposure with neurological impairment in children, which may, in part, result from fluoride’s affect on the thyroid gland. In light of the serious nature of these effects, and the lack of benefit from pre-eruptive ingestion of fluoride, basic precautionary principles strongly counsel against exposing infants to any fluoride.

Concerns about the wisdom of supplementing an infant’s diet with fluoride are being voiced by even ardent pro-fluoride dental organizations. In 1994, the American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) reversed their decades-long policy of recommending that doctors prescribe fluoride supplements to newborn infants. While these organizations have refrained from taking the obvious step of recommending that fluoridated water not be be added to infant formula (a practice that exposes infants to nearly 4 times more fluoride than supplements) a growing number of prominent dental researchers have made this recommendation.

What You Need to Know:

  • The Mother-Offspring Studies: These studies tested the urinary fluoride levels of the pregnant woman and then paired those findings with the cognitive tests of her offspring. The higher the level of fluoride in the urine, the lower the IQ in the offspring. In each of these studies, the IQ of the offspring from women living in fluoridated communities was lower than women living in non-fluoridated communities. See also the 2018 Canadian national survey of urinary fluoride levels in pregnant women.
  • New Understandings: Read the five scientific discoveries that finally prompted pro-fluoride dental organizations to publicly recognize the problems with exposing infants to fluoride.
  • New Recommendations: See the new recommendations from pro-fluoride organizations and researchers on fluoride exposure during infancy.
  • 5 Ways to Protect Your Child: Learn the five most important things you can do to protect a newborn child from fluoride.

Help start an infant warning campaign:

  • The Fluoride Action Network is currently working with individuals and organizations throughout the United States to pass legislation on both the state and city level requiring public disclosure of the the risks that fluoridated water poses to infants. In 2012, FAN helped persuade the State of New Hampshire to pass by a landslide vote a bill requiring water departments in the state to notify consumers of the fluorosis risk posed by infant consumption of fluoridated water. To learn more and contribute to FAN’s effort on this project, click here.

Help Start a Moms2B Avoid Fluoride Campaign:

  • The Moms2B campaign was launched in April 2018 to advise pregnant women to avoid fluoride, particularly fluoridated water, because of the potential for harm to the brain of the fetus.  Read more about the campaign here. Please join us.
back to top