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Letter: We drink too much fluoridated water

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:00 am

Fluoride joins lead, arsenic, methylmercury, toluene, tetrachloroethylene and other chemicals known to cause harm to brains. Fluoride is newly classified as a developmental neurotoxin by medical authorities in the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology. The authors are Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine.

The authors write, “A meta-analysis of 27 cross-sectional studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water, mainly from China, suggests an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations.” The majority of these 27 studies had water fluoride levels that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently allows in the U.S. — less than 4 milligrams per liter.

Developmental neurotoxins are capable of causing widespread brain disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities and other cognitive impairments. The harm is often untreatable and permanent.

The authors say it’s crucial to control the use of all harmful chemicals to protect children’s brain development: “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” Grandjean says. “The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”

In light of the new classification of fluoride as a dangerous neurotoxin, we should follow the evidence and reduce fluoride intake, not increase it. Unfortunately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports 276 million Americans are consuming fluoridated drinking water, largely as a result of the CDC’s vigorous advocacy to maintain and increase those numbers.

But the CDC’s own evidence reveals Americans already show signs of fluoride overexposure, and reports that 41 percent of American teenagers have dental fluorosis, a physical marker that they ingested too much fluoride while their teeth were forming. Why would the CDC persist in going against the tide of evidence to promote higher fluoride intake? Sadly, it seems, health agencies in fluoridated countries seem to be more intent on protecting their fluoridation program than protecting children’s brains.

Alex Aliferis

Lodi

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