Originally at: https://doctorstevenpark.com/fluoride-friend-or-foe?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fluoride-friend-or-foe
In the 2006 cult classic movie Idiocracy, the main character Joe Bauers takes part in a secret military hibernation experiment, but wakes up 500 years later into a dystopian world where commercialism and anti-intellectualism have run rampant, with IQ rates that have plummeted. He is found to be the smartest person in the world and is appointed to become the President.
Whenever I see studies linking fluoride ingestion with lowered IQ rates, this movie comes to mind. Why an I concerned?
Adding fluoride to our nation’s water supply has been touted as a major public health success story, resulting in significantly lowered rates of cavities (~25%). However, ever since the inception of the program in 1945, there have been strong opinions for and against it. I’ve always had mixed feelings about fluoride, but over the years, a handful of studies linking fluoride levels to lowered IQ levels led me into a rabbit hole of confusing, often conflicting studies. What I explain in this article is my reason for coming to the conclusion that ultimately, we’re better off without fluoride in our water supply.
Fluoride’s Link to Lower IQ
There have been a myriad of studies over many decades associating fluoride with various health conditions, including flourosis, cancer, bone fractures, hypothyroidism, acne, earlier puberty in girls, pineal gland calcification, and lowered intelligence. Numerous arguments are made countering the above associations as well.
A 2012 systematic review and meta-analysis of 27 studies over 22 years from Harvard combined all the highest quality studies on fluoride exposure and IQ, showing that children living in areas with higher fluoride exposure had significantly lower IQ scores (about 7 points). Needless to say, this study attracted a lot of headlines and media coverage.
In 2017, researchers from the the United States, Canada and Mexico found that children had a 6 point drop in IQ score with each 1 mg/L increase in maternal urine fluoride levels.
Just last month in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from York University in Toronto published results showing that in mothers living in areas of fluoride water during pregnancy (compared to non-fluoridated water) had children with lower IQ rates. They measured the mother’s urine fluoride levels as well as estimated fluoride intake levels based on dietary factors and local water supply fluoride concentrations. They found that for every 1 ml/L increase in maternal urine fluoride levels, IQ levels dropped by 4.5 points, but in boys only. When maternal fluoride intake was measured, IQ diminished by 3.7 points in both boys and girls.
This study went against the grain amongst the medical …