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Fluoridation Safety Remains Intact

Fluoridation Safety Remains Intact

No one should worry about fluoridation, despite the alarming headlines stirred up by a new study from Canada, according to Making Sense of Fluoride.

The study, published in the American Medical Association’s paediatric journal, claims to link higher levels of fluoride exposure in pregnant women to lower IQ scores in young children.

‘Experts have been quick to push back over the paper’s shortcomings,’ explains MSoF president Daniel Ryan. ‘In fact, it was accompanied by an extraordinary and unprecedented editor’s note. That suggests that even the journal’s editorial panel struggled with whether or not to publish.’

While some commentators say the study’s methodology is credible, others, including a panel from the UK’s Science Media Centre, found the data simply does not support the contentious conclusions.

MSoF’s science adviser Dr Ken Perrott has examined the paper and says the controversy has been caused by the study authors’ apparent statistical manipulation of the data. He agrees with SMC expert Thom Baguley, Professor of Experimental Psychology, Nottingham Trent University who said the type of analysis the researchers used is ‘frowned upon’ and that their ‘claim that maternal fluoride exposure is associated with a decrease in IQ of children is false.’ Another expert called the findings ‘weak’ and ‘borderline’. Reviewers were troubled, for example, that researchers reported a drop in IQ for boys but not for girls, questioning why gender would affect the results.

Critical commentators say at best the study is interesting but there’s no need for anyone to avoid fluoride, which has a valuable and proven role in preventing tooth decay.

‘We need to see if future research can reach the same conclusion,’ says Mr Ryan. ‘A single study that’s had so much backlash should simply not change anyone’s mind about the benefits and safety of fluoridation.’

‘The science is complex,’ he added. ‘It’s important to have reliable commentators that bring a balanced view to topics that can incite strong reaction.’


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