In reference to a study, entitled “Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offsprings in Canada”, published in JAMA Pediatrics, the journal editors were stunned by a finding that fluoridated water exposure in mothers during pregnancy reduces the IQ of their sons.
The study found that in boys, a 1 mg/L increase in the maternal urine fluoride concentration led to a 5-point decrease in boys’ IQs.
Dimitri Christakis and Frederick Rivara of JAMA Pediatrics, in a podcast, compare the findings as overturning decades-old presumptions of safety of fluoridated water.
Christakis: “Before they were anti vaxxers, there were sort of anti fluoriders. Right. And like the traditional teaching, when I was going through residency and early in my early professional career was that there was fluoride is completely safe. All these people that are trying to take it out of the water are nuts. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened for children’s dental health. And we just need to push back and get it into every water system.”
Christakis: “In fact, before there were anti-vaxxers, there were, sort-of, anti-fluoriders, and the traditional teaching when I was going through residency was that fluoride was completely safe, all these people that are trying to take it out of the water are nuts, it’s the best thing that ever happened…”
Christakis: “So when I first saw this title, my initial reaction was ‘What the hell?'”
Rivara had referenced the title of the study as “shocking” and later said
When discussing biological plausibility, citing animal models,
Christakis: “Even in the animal models, weirdly enough… the effect is seen in male than female rats, I don’t know to think about that… There have been other observational studies that have shown this, and there have been animal models as well, showed that fluoride was a neurotoxin, which, again, was totally news to me, I thought it was ‘junk science’…
Rivara: “That’d be like antivaxxers saying ‘Fluoride is bad for your brains, so let’s not do it.’ You know, that same kind of thing.”
The editors discussed how surprised they were to learn that only 3% of cities in Europe fluoridate their water.
The philosopher Karl Popper called this shock-reaction “Surprise”, and held that the more unlikely a robust result from a critical test appears to be, the higher the degree of corroboration that should be afforded the unlikely.
The comparison in this discussion to anti-vaxxers is ironic, given that fluoride and aluminum have known synergistic neurotoxicity, just like mercury and aluminum have known synergistic neurotoxicity.
The obvious question is: when will a major pediatrics journal have this level of healthy cognitive disequilibrium about vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, and vaccines and autoimmunity?
These editors’ reactions to this news about fluoride was the precise reaction I had upon reading all of the studies for my book on autism – the studies I had no idea about, the ones that were “totally news to me”. The animal model studies showing plausbility of vaccination and autism (e.g., chronic microglial activation), the observational studies that DID find association (e.g., Gallagher and Goodman), and, of course the studies I could not read because they were never conducted, diswarranting the generalization that “Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism”. I agree 100% with Christakis when he said that “Science is an iterative process”.
It is very good to see an opening of the eyes and minds explicitly represented by this podcast. It is also good to see that that “those crazy Xr’s” model of science is dying. Christakis is going to recommend bottled or filtered water. His colleague correctly points out that bottled water is not affordable for all families.
Perhaps we really should rethink the wisdom of fluoridation given the apparent effects on autism rates  and lifelong effects on dementia as well. Science is, after all, for asking questions.
Here’s the podcast file:
I thank Bruce Lanphear for sending the studies and the podcast file along. He’s working on a new book, which I think is on the effect of low-dose toxicity and synergism among toxins that we think, or thought, were safe.
References and Full “Shocking” Pubmed Searches