IQ Loss: Economic cost to society
By Paul Connett
Director, Fluoride Action Network
In a nation besieged by neurological disorders both in young children and the elderly, minimizing exposures to known neurotoxic substances should be a public health priority.
Based on the first-ever “mother-offspring” studies funded by three U.S. government agencies (National Institutes of Heath, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) the critical period of exposure to fluoride as far as neurological damage is concerned was during pregnancy. The researchers found that the typical range of adult exposure to fluoride in fluoridated communities could lower the IQ of pregnant women’s offspring by up to 6 IQ points (Bashash et al., 2017).
At the population level a downward shift of 5 IQ points this could halve the number of very bright children in our society (IQ > 130) and increase by over 50% the number of mentally handicapped (IQ less than 70).
At the individual level the last children that need their IQ lowered are children from low-income communities, who are precisely the children targeted for water fluoridation.
Since 200 million Americans now live in areas where water is fluoridated, and since virtually all Americans consume processed foods and beverages made with fluoridated water, any reduction in IQ from consumption of fluoride-treated water stands to have very large social and economic consequences.
Studies have shown that even a loss of a single IQ point causes an average drop in lifetime earnings of $22,250 in current dollars.
According to the Petition to U.S. EPA1 to end the use of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water:
“Last paragraph on page 25: The reduction in IQ associated with fluoride exposure has been found to be severe enough in some children to produce mental retardation. (E.g., Lin et al. 1991). But even the loss of a single IQ point is associated with significant economic loss. As calculated by Spadaro et al. (2008), a loss of a single IQ point causes an average drop in lifetime earnings of $18,000 in 2005 U.S. dollars, which, when adjusted for inflation, amounts to $22,250 in current dollars.51 Since 200 million Americans now live in areas where water is fluoridated,52 and since virtually all Americans consume processed foods and beverages made with fluoridated water, any reduction in IQ from consumption of fluoride-treated water stands to have very large economic consequences.
“In 2010, there were 74 million children under the age of 18 living in the U.S., of which we can estimate roughly 50 million were living in fluoridated areas.(53 at page 24)
“Even if only sentinel or susceptible populations in fluoridated areas suffer IQ loss, the economic impacts will still be substantial.
“If we conservatively assume that only 1 to 5% of children in a fluoridated area suffer any IQ loss, and even if this IQ loss averaged just 1 IQ point,(54 at page 24) this would still amount to 500,000 to 2,500,000 lost IQ points, with a total loss in lifetime earnings ranging from $11.1 billion to $55.6 billion for this generation alone.”
1. Connett M. 2016. Petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), 15 U.S.C. § 2620, to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. November 22.
Note: For more information, see the section Monetary Consequences of a “Small” Effect on Cognition, at the bottom of page 526 to 527, from Critical Periods of Vulnerability for the Developing Nervous System: Evidence from Humans and Animal Models, by Rice & Barone (2000), Environmental Health Perspectives, 108:Supplement 3. June.
For more info on the “mother-offspring” studies, use the links in the pop-down menu at the top
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