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People worried about the fluoridation of municipal water supplies seem to occupy the same fringe space in American life as flat-earthers. But a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics appears to lend credence to the idea that fluoridated water has an impact on the IQ of children. The Washington Post reports that the study was subjected to additional scrutiny but ultimately found an impact on the IQ of boys:
Pregnant women reported their consumption of tap water and black tea, which is high in fluoride, in questionnaires. The authors of the new study also calculated the amount of fluoride in municipal water, based on the levels at wastewater treatment plants linked to the women’s postal codes. The researchers estimated the women’s fluoride intake based on a combination of those measures.
The researchers compared the fluoride intake of 400 women, some who lived in fluoridated cities and some who did not. They controlled for factors such as household income and the women’s education. A 1 milligram daily increase in fluoride intake was associated with a 3.7-point drop in children’s IQ, they found…
The scientists observed that a 1 milligram-per-liter increase in urine fluoride predicted a drop in IQ of 4.5 points in young boys. When the researchers examined the urine of mothers who had daughters, however, fluoride had no association with IQ…
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.”
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