Study raises questions about fluoride and children’s IQ
By Ben Guarino
Two Canadian newspapers, the Ottawa Post and the National Post, as well as The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa CA, reprinted this article. Of interest is the fact that people in the U.S. need a subscription to read Washington Post articles. And, while the National Post credited the author of the article, the Ottawa Citizen did not. For those who want to read the full article click on either of the Canadian papers above.
A study of young children in Canada suggests those whose mothers drank fluoridated tap water while pregnant had slightly lower IQ scores than children whose mothers lived in non-fluoridated cities. But don’t dash for the nearest bottled water yet. Health experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association cautioned that public policy and drinking water consumption should not change on the basis of this study.
“I still stand by the weight of the best available evidence, from 70 years of study, that community water fluoridation is safe and effective,” said Brittany Seymour, a dentist and spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. “If we’re able to replicate findings and continue to see outcomes, that would compel us to revisit our recommendation. We’re just not there yet.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, likewise, recommends fluoride in toothpastes and tooth varnishes for children because the mineral prevents tooth decay. In drinking water, “fluoridation has been incredibly protective,” said Aparna Bole, a pediatrician who chairs the Council on Environmental Health at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Fluoridation reduces the prevalence of cavities by about one-fourth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC considers water fluoridation one of the 10 top health achievements of the past century, on par with vaccines and antismoking campaigns.
… Several researchers unaffiliated with the report applauded this work’s publication in the face of intense review. “I believe that, in general, the dental community will discount these findings, minimize their importance and continue to recommend the use of fluoridated water during pregnancy,” said Pamela Den Besten, a pediatric dentist who studies tooth enamel at the University of California at San Francisco. She added: “This study has been carefully conducted and analyzed.”
“This is an excellent study,” said Philippe Grandjean, a physician who studies brain development and environmental pollutants at the Harvard School of Public Health. “CDC has to come out and look at the risk-benefit ratio again, because they can’t continue relying on studies that were carried out decades ago.”
The CDC declined to comment on the study itself because it was not a participant, said Amesheia Buckner, an agency spokeswoman. “Community water fluoridation is one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures communities can take to prevent tooth decay,” Buckner said…
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