A press release has been making the rounds online and is even being picked up in print raising false fears about water fluoridation and brain development. The press release from NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF), a misinformation laden anti-fluoridation organization, cites not a study about water fluoridation relevant to their western audience but rather a systematic review of 27 epidemiological studies relating to endemic fluoride exposure, in China and Iran, and cognitive function. I’ve written about this dishonest propaganda tactic by anti-fluoridation activists before, but activists know that the public has a short memory and the issue continues to periodically be brought up to whip up more fear and more donations for anti-fluoridation organizations. As I thoroughly demonstrated in a previous post, Fluoride & the Brain: The China Studies, levels of fluoride to which people are exposed in places such as China and India are much higher than approved fluoride levels used in community fluoridation programs in places such as the US. Injecting such studies on endemic fluoride into the public discussion on water fluoridation without proper context is simply irresponsible and misleading.
In an attempt to rescue their conclusion from anyone noticing this obvious deception, the authors cite a study, Ding 2011, in which it appears that a dose response between relatively low fluoride levels in the urine and low IQ is established. The dose response in this one study however is contradicted by other research that found that children with the lowest fluoride intake in the study had lower IQs than children who lived in areas with fluoride levels closer to our national standard in the US. It also should be noted that in the Ding 2011 study other water contaminates and iodine intake do not appear to be taken into account, these important variables have been show to have an large impact in other studies and could easily account for inaccuracy in this study. With water fluoridation programs in the US averaging around 1 mg/L fluoride (or less), the claim in the study that an “increase in 1 mg/L of urine fluoride [was] associated with [a] 0.59-point decrease in IQ” is just not significant. Perhaps most important, the claim that fluoride negativity impacts cognitive function is simply not supported by any studies on water fluoridation programs in developed nations.
So once again, while the focus of anti-fluoridation activists is on stopping community fluoridation programs in places such as the US, not a single study presented was actually about community fluoridation in developed nations. Rather, the studies presented in the press release are about the threat of endemic fluorosis among those exposed to high levels naturally occurring in the groundwater in developing nations, an issue on which they are not active. This is a disingenuous use of scientific research to advance a fear-based agenda. I urge my readers to join me in supporting real, meaningful efforts to protect communities from the harms of endemic fluorosis. If you enjoyed this post please donate what you can to Frank Water and their efforts to provide sustainable water filtration to some of the worlds poorest communities, including those hit hardest by endemic fluoride.
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Fluoride & Brain Damage
Fluoride & the Brain: Déjà Vu
Fluoride & the Brain: Strike 3, You’re Out!
Fluoride & the Brain: The China Studies
Fluoride & Cancer Quackery
Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Full Text & Supplemental Material)
Anatomy of a propaganda press release: Fluoride and IQ by idoubtit
Fluoride Lowers Your IQ: B.S. Headline of the Week by David Wong
Anti-Fluoride Propaganda as News by Steven Novella