Not Reading This Blog Could Be Hazardous to Your Children’s Health
There have been many alarming headlines recently about neurotoxins, some even singling out fluoride as a danger. The source of this media-induced anxiety can be traced to an article in the March issue of the British journal The Lancet Neurology that included fluoride among a list of potentially harmful chemicals.
Most of the attention focused on the especially troubling idea that exposure to certain chemicals at vulnerable times may harm children’s brains. This is certainly not a threat to take lightly, but it is important to separate the eye-catching factoids from the actual facts.
The article’s information on fluoride came from one study, published in 2012, that suggested a link between exposure to high levels of fluoride and I.Q. That study was actually a review of earlier studies that were severely criticized at the time for missing data and a failure to incorporate other environmental factors, such as exposure to lead and arsenic, into their findings. All of those studies were done in China or Iran, where the levels of natural fluoride in the water were double, triple, or even ten times higher than controlled levels of fluoride in community water systems in the United States.
After the publication of the 2012 report, the authors noted, “these results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.” Just recently, in the March 2014 issue of The Atlantic, one of The Lancet Neurology article’s authors, American pediatrician Philip Landrigan, MD, FAAP said of fluoride, “There’s no question that, at low doses, it’s beneficial.”
To date, more than 3,000 studies and research papers have been produced on fluoridation, and the overwhelming evidence shows its safety and effectiveness as a public health practice. Community water fluoridation has been, and continues to be thoroughly evaluated to ensure the health of those who benefit from it. It is not an attention grabbing headline, but it is the truth.