Posted by Sherijan Ivan Dela Cruz on Aug 26th 2019

Water woes? Diminished intelligence due to fluoridated water—JAMA Pediatrics

Mothers-to-be have something else to worry about aside from their painful labor

Study claims fluoride water can make you, or your unborn child, well, dumb. Image by Getty Images/vitapix

Try to Google “fluoride makes you dumb” or “does fluoride makes my child stupid” and you’ll get plenty of shady sites perpetuating relatively weak theories about how the government is intentionally adding fluoride in the country’s extensive waterworks. For what reason? To keep the citizenry, well, dumb and docile. Conspiracy theories at their finest.

But are they all? Brace yourself. You’re in for a nasty surprise.

JAMA Pediatrics, a medical journal published by the American Medical Association, recently published a study conducted by Canadian researchers suggesting that pregnant women who drank more fluoridated water had children with lower IQs.

Executives of the Association expected the research to be so controversial that the editors of JAMA Pediatrics included a note saying the decision to publish the article was not easy and that it was subjected to scrutiny from the government and the scientific community.

“It’s the only editor’s note I’ve ever written,” said JAMA Pediatrics editor-in-chief Dr. Dimitri Christakis. Being a pediatrician himself, Dr. Christakis upholds integrity and truth based on factual, empirical evidence. “There was a concern on the journal’s editorial team about how this would play out in the public eye and what the public-health implications would be.”

Where do all this ominous hype come from? For starters, let’s get familiar with the drinking water system of North America.

Testing waters

Study claims fluoride water can make you, or your unborn child, well, dumb. Image by Getty Images/vitapix

The US government decided to make the country’s tap water fluoridated—a move lauded by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Cases of tooth decay have been dramatically reduced in about three-fourths of the entire United States population.

This move wasn’t met without opposition. Earlier studies were brought up suggesting that prenatal fluoride exposure could risk neurodevelopment of infants, a claim many experts considered substandard at the time.

A research team from different universities across North America conducted the study in a span of more than 4 years. The study followed more than 600 pairs of mothers and children whom they conceived and given birth to from 2008 to 2012. 41% of these mothers had lived in communities in which tap water was infused with fluoride.

“Unconvincing” results

Despite gaining a strong backing from the premier medical publisher JAMA Network, the new study received lukewarm reception from the scientific community, saying the results were “statistically borderline” and the methodology used was “flawed.”

Study co-author Christine Till of Toronto’s York University commented on an article by Daily Beast, “When started in this field, we were told that fluoride is safe and effective in pregnancy. But when we looked for the evidence to suggest that it’s safe, we didn’t find any studies done on pregnant women.”

Critics and skeptics easily pointed out the inconclusive results due to gender differences as a striking red flag. However, when the researchers measured fluoride exposure of the pregnant women’s fluid intake, they found lower IQ scores in boys and girls. A 1mg increase of fluoride intake per day was associated with a staggering 3.7-point IQ deficit among both genders.

What should you do?

If you’re getting anxious thinking that these findings prove that fluoride can make you or your plus ones less intelligent, take note that observational studies like this one is, mind you, NEVER a proof of cause and effect. Who knows? These mothers-to-be who live in areas where water is fluoridated could’ve been exposed to other waterborne compounds that may affect their children’s IQ.

Also, IQ scores are not the only determinants of intelligence—it’s an imperfect method itself, in fact. But for the sake of being a good parent, what should you do?

Water fluoridation is an ingenious way of taking care of the citizenry’s set of teeth. You’ll never know how much of the population actually brush their teeth—after all, the economy would collapse if people would lose their ability to chew. But on a more serious note, if you’re not pregnant, this study alone shouldn’t dissuade you from drinking tap water. Then again, you need your teeth to eat a lot of things, whatever they could be.

Study claims fluoride water can make you, or your unborn child, well, dumb. Image by Getty Images/vitapix

If you’re pregnant (and is being extra cautious), then opt for bottled water, although we must say it’s not necessarily safer. For the best protection against waterborne compounds, try our home water filtration systems. They’re safe, trusted, and not complicated to install and use. Aside from regulating fluoride levels, CWR’s filtration systems can block out all kinds of contaminants and ensure only the cleanest water would come out of your tap.

Get a free water consultation here and know what type of filters are best for your home.