The fluoride debate has resurfaced in town once more.
The fluoride debate has resurfaced in town once more. Contributed

Controversial study on link between fluoride and IQ

AN OBSERVATIONAL study of 512 mother-child pairs across six Canadian cities, hinting at an apparent association between fluoride exposure during pregnancy and lower IQ scores in children aged three to four, has been called into question by several pundits.

The research paper, Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada, Green et al., was published by JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers used two measurements: average fluoride concentration in the mothers' urine during pregnancy and fluoride intake based on the mothers' self-reported water and other water-based drink (like tea and coffee) consumption.

After accounting for factors associated with fluoride metabolism and children's intellectual abilities, in one measure, a 1-mg/L increase in maternal urinary fluoride was associated with a 4.5-point lower IQ score in boys but not girls, while in the second measure a 1-mg higher intake of fluoride was associated with a 3.7 lower IQ score among both boys and girls.

Byron Shire resident and member of the Involuntary Medical Objection Party, Tom Barnett, said that while the study couldn't be considered conclusive, it certainly correlated with other similar studies.

"Although I don't support fluoride in any shape or form, I can't suggest that the drop in IQ is due only to fluoride exposure," he said.

"For that, I also attribute heavy metal contaminants, vaccines, glyphosate and chemical sprays, TV, Facebook as well as media, the educational system and the intelligence of parents.

"Does fluoride have an effect? Without a doubt yes. People today are very, very average and fluoride is only part of the problem.."

Fertility and prenatal dietitian Melanie McGrice, an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian based in Victoria, admitted the study was controversial.

"This is one of the most controversial papers that I've read in quite a while," she said.

"Whilst we need to remember that it is only one study, and the results weren't completely clear , I will now be advising my pregnant clients to drink filtered water - at least until more conclusive research is undertaken."

"The NHMRC states that adding fluoride to the water supply has reduced tooth decay by up to 44 per cent, so it has clearly done a lot of good and therefore I don't believe that everyone needs to avoid fluoridated water at this stage.

"It's also important to note that not all fluoridated water needs to be avoided."