On the heels of a study in Mexico that found a correlation between fluoride and lower measures of intelligence in children — the U.S. federal government says don’t stop using tap water just yet!
No Learning Deficits Shown
The federal National Toxicology Program (NTP) has found no link between elevated levels of fluoride and cognitive learning deficits. In nine tests conducted on rats that consumed food and water with varying fluoride levels, NTP researchers found no exposure-related differences in motor, sensory, or learning and memory performance or in thyroid hormone levels.
The only side effect from the fluoride? Inflammation of the prostate gland, which was observed only at an exposure far above the level of what’s typically in fluoridated water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, the ADA, and other groups recognize the benefits of adding fluoride to toothpaste and drinking water. The CDC also notes that 74.4% of people in the United States who use community water systems drink fluoridated water.
The Debate Over Fluoridation
Fluoridation has long been a point of contention among activists who insist that fluoride is ineffective, harmful, and an infringement on individual freedoms.
“Critics of community water fluoridation were thrilled when the NTP said they would conduct a thorough study of this issue,” said Johnny Johnson Jr, DMD, MS, president of the American Fluoridation Society. “However, they have been as quiet as a church mouse since the NTP’s findings were made public. Once again, they choose to ignore the studies that don’t fit into their fear-based mindset. They’re choosing silence over science.”
In addition to the NTP study, a 2015 study in New Zealand found no link between fluoridation and IQ scores over a 31-year period.
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