Fluoride exposure from drinking water during pregnancy could be making children less intelligent, a new Canadian study argues.
Researchers studied 601 mother-child pairs from six cities in Canada, and found that on average, 1 milligram/liter increase in maternal urinary fluoride meant 4.5-point lower IQ score in children by the time they reached ages 3 to 4.
"Four and a half IQ points is of substantial societal and economic concern," said senior researcher Christine Till, an associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. "We're talking a magnitude that's comparable to what we're talking about when we talk about lead exposure.
"You would have millions of more children falling into the range of intellectual disability with IQ scores of less than 70, and that many fewer kids in the gifted range," Till concluded.
Although there is no clear cause, strong association between fluoride exposure and children intelligence in various studies has revealed the importance of preventing fluoridations.
2/3 U.S. residents now live in an area with fluoridated water, compared with 38% of Canadians and 3% of Europeans, which makes the situation more serious.
According to American Dental Association, a recommended amount of fluoride in community water (0.7 mg/L) is beneficial and safe for the public.
However, after careful surveys on the mothers’ drinking habits, potential exposure to fluoride water, and the children’s IQ scores, researchers from the Canadian team suggest that pregnant women should consider reducing their exposure to fluoride.
This includes avoiding public water sources that are fluoridated, since those account for 70% of fluoride exposure in adults.
“You’re not doing any harm to your baby by reducing your fluoride intake, you can reduce it and your baby will be fine.” Said a researcher.