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Maternal Fluoride and Infant IQ

Maternal Fluoride and Infant IQ

A recent Canadian study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that a mother’s fluoride exposure during pregnancy is associated with decreased IQ scores in her child, particularly affecting boys.  Fluoride is known to cross the placenta.  It alters proteins and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and accumulates in the learning and memory centers of the brain.  Over 50 other studies have found a correlation between fluoride exposure and lower IQ.  These studies are supported by over 400 animal and cell studies showing that fluoride has neurotoxic effects.

Fluoridation of drinking water is considered one of the “top 10 public health achievements in the 20th century”, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It is credited with protecting against tooth decay.  About 60% of US communities have fluoridated water programs, compared to just 3% in Europe.  Europeans rely on dental treatments and fortification of milk instead of water fluoridation.

In 2016, the Fluoride Action Network, a coalition of environmental and health groups, and six parents petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the addition of fluoride to public drinking water.  When the EPA denied the petition, the petitioners sued.  The trial in the US District Court in San Francisco, postponed by the coronavirus outbreak, is scheduled to take place on June 8 by video conference, and will be accessible to the public.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD

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