Water fluoridation ‘does not lower IQ’
Drinking fluoridated water doesn’t lower IQ, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Many popular theories suspect the role of water fluoridation, with some claiming that fluoridated water is associated with a number of harmful effects.
In the United States and other countries, fluoride is routinely added to drinking water as a supplement to protect against tooth decay. However, some people reject the mandatory nature of water fluoridation.
Part of the concern about the fluoridation of water stems from conspiracy theories about the end of World War II. These include proposals that the Nazi regime secretly fluorinated water supplies to damage the pineal gland of its citizens, which some people believe promotes docility in humans.
The closeness of conspiracy theories on the subject has sparked debate over the health risks of fluoridation of water. In 2012, researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, expressed doubts about the health benefits of fluoride in water supplies.
They conducted a review of studies examining the effects of water fluoridation on children and found that children living in areas with high fluoride levels “had significantly lower IQs than children living in areas with low fluoride levels” .
According to the researchers, fluoride is a chemical “with significant evidence of developmental neurotoxicity”.
However, these results are being challenged by a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
In a large study of 1,000 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand between 1972 and 1973 – Dunedin’s multidisciplinary study – researchers at the University of Otago compared the IQs of subjects who grew up in the suburbs with and without fluorinated water. They also took into account the extent to which participants were exposed to fluoride toothpaste or tablets during their childhood.
Share on PinterestDr. Broadbent suggests that studies showing an association between water fluoridation and reduced IQ tended to use poor research methods with a high risk of bias.
The IQ scores for 992 participants were examined between the ages of 7 and 13 years. Of these people, 942 were retested at the age of 38 years. The results of the tests for assessing verbal comprehension, perceptual comprehension, working memory and processing speed were also available to the Otago researchers.
The team monitored the results for factors known to affect IQ variation in childhood, such as parental socioeconomic status, birth weight and breastfeeding, and secondary and tertiary performance that are believed to be that they affect IQ in adults.
The lead author Dr. Jonathan Broadbent describes the team’s results:
“Our analysis did not reveal any significant differences in IQ from exposure to fluoride, even before controlling for the other factors that might affect the scores. In line with other studies, we found that breastfeeding was associated with higher IQs in children, regardless of whether children grew up in fluoridated or non-fluoridated areas. ”
Dr. Broadbent suggests that studies showing an association between water fluoridation and reduced IQ tended to use poor research methods with a high risk of bias. Speaking to Medical News Today, he said of the Harvard study: “The authors said that each of the articles discussed had flaws that in some cases were quite serious. It’s a meta-analysis based on poor research. ”
He adds that, by comparison, Dunedin’s multidisciplinary study is world renowned for the quality of its data and the accuracy of its analysis.
In conclusion, Dr. Broadbent:
“Hopefully our results will help to put another nail in the coffin of the entire canard that fluoridating water is somehow damaging the development of children. In reality, the opposite is true, as it helps reduce the tooth decay that afflicts the childhood of far too many New Zealanders. ”