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HCC Fluoride/Infant Formula Warning

HCC Fluoride/Infant Formula Warning

The Policy and Strategy committee last night resolved to advise parents and caregivers of Lower Hutt of advice issued by the American Dental Association (ADA) with regards to fluoridated water.

In a November 9th 2006 email alert sent to all of its members, the ADA noted that "Infants less than one year old may be getting more than the optimal amount of fluoride if their primary source of nutrition is powdered or liquid infant formula mixed with water containing fluoride." The ADA went on to advise: "If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride."

The ADA issued this advice because babies being bottle fed with fluoridated water are at high risk for developing dental fluorosis—a defect of the teeth which can result in staining and even corrosion of the enamel. In addition, on October 14th, the Food and Drug Administration stated that fluoridated water marketed to babies cannot claim to reduce the risk of cavities.

Mary Byrne from Fluoride Action Network says that "Dental fluorosis is not the only risk stemming from a baby's exposure to fluoride. In the same week that ADA issued its advisory, an article in the British journal, The Lancet, reported that fluoride may damage a child's developing brain. The Lancet review described fluoride, along with the rocket fuel additive perchlorate, as an "emerging neurotoxic substance" due to evidence linking fluoride to lower IQs in children, and brain damage in animals".

"Newborn babies have undeveloped brains, and exposure to fluoride, a suspected neurotoxin, should be avoided," notes Hardy Limeback, a member of a 2006 National Research Council panel on fluoride toxicity, and former President of the Canadian Association of Dental Research.

"Fluoride is linked with other health problems as well, including weakened bones, reduced thyroid activity, and possibly, bone cancer in boys, according to a recent report from a team of Harvard scientists, the US National Research Council and other recent studies"

However, the committee resolution only pertains to the ADA's warning regarding dental fluorosis as this is an undisputed risk factor of water fluoridation. The resolution is now to be passed to full council on the 18th September to consider how best to convey this information to parents and caregivers.

ENDS

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