Is Fluoride Adversely Affecting Our Children’s Intelligence and Behavior?
Dartmouth Researcher Finds Increased Uptake of Lead
CANTON, NEW YORK – The chemicals currently used to fluoridate much of the water in the US may be causing increased blood lead levels in children, results of a new study show.
Dr. Roger Masters of Dartmouth College and colleagues looked at data consisting of over 150,000 children’s blood lead tests, and found levels significantly elevated in areas where chemicals known as silicofluorides (SiF), used in over 90% of the fluoridated water in the US, are used.
Controlling for other factors associated with high blood lead, the odds of children having venous blood lead over the standard cut-off of 10µg/dL were significantly higher where SiFs were in use, with the odds often doubled or tripled for minorities.
The study, published in the journal “Neurotoxicology”, reinforces the findings of two previous studies by the same researchers. Other data, now in press, show that controlling for other factors, SiF usage also contributes to significant increases in rates of violent crime, says Masters.
“Dumbing Down” and Behavioral Effects
“Apart from other dangerous effects, the tendency of SiF to enhance absorption of lead is of incalculable importance, because among the well-known consequences are its effects on intelligence and cognitive ability, which can be permanent and severe,” according to Masters.
Even at levels below 10µg/dL, researchers have found subtle but dangerous deficits in learning and behavior. A recent study conducted at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati found slight, but detectable, impairment at levels as low as 5µg/dL, half the current standard used for determining elevated lead levels. In addition, each increase of 1µg/dL was found to cause a 1% decrease in children’s reading scores.
Along with causing learning problems, lead can have other adverse health effects as well, such as increases in ADD/ADHD symptoms, violent behavior, and drug use, studies have shown. (See Fluoride Alert for additional information)
Are the Alleged Benefits of Fluoridation Worth the Risk?
“Even if fluoridation does provide some modest benefit in regard to tooth decay, society really needs to take a good hard look at its priorities here,” says Paul Connett, Ph.D., of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), an international coalition of organizations helping to raise awareness of fluoride’s health and environmental hazards.
“With rates of ADD/ADHD at record levels and still rising, is a minute benefit to teeth worth the risk of higher lead levels?” asks Connett.
“In fact, several recent studies have shown that rates of tooth decay do NOT rise after water fluoridation is stopped, but may actually decrease. If people want to take the gamble with fluoride (a known enzyme poison) it makes more sense to do as the Europeans do, and use topical fluoride instead,” he maintains.
“Most people would be shocked to learn that there have been no adequate studies of long-term low-level exposure to silicofluorides,” states Masters. “Even the EPA admits it has no data on the health and behavioral effects of SiFs.” “Shouldn’t we stop intentionally exposing 140 million Americans to an untested chemical until the risks are extensively and objectively evaluated by independent researchers?” asks Dr. Masters.
For additional information on the latest study, as well as other related information, go to Fluoride Alert
Source: Neurotoxicology 2000; 21: 1091-1100
Contact: Roger Masters, PhD, Foundation for Neuroscience and Society, Dartmouth College, phone: 603-646-2153, Email (Questions related to fluoride – lead association
Paul Connett, PhD, Fluoride Action Network, St. Lawrence University, Phone: 315-379-9200, Fax: 315-379-0448, Email or Email Fluoride Alert , URL: www.fluoridealert.org (Questions related to fluoride or water fluoridation)