Fluoride Use Poses Risk of Brain Damage In Infants and Pregnant Women

Fluoride is everywhere. It’s in our toothpaste and other oral care products. In supplements given to children. It’s even in many municipal water supplies throughout the United States. The reason is that fluoride is a low-risk way to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.

Tooth decay and other oral problems are believed to cause other health troubles, so protecting one’s smile is an important part of preventive health care. But fluoride may not be the right solution. In fact, when used by pregnant mothers, it can lead to neurological damage and lower IQ in their children.

Chemically Treated Water Linked to Low IQ Score in Children

As part of a recent review of research for the Journal of Pediatrics, University of Toronto researcher Morteza Bashash provided commentary on a Canadian study that compared the IQ scores of 3 and 4 years old who had and hadn’t been exposed to fluoride during the first six months of their lives. The study confirmed the data Dr. Bashash had found in her own research in Mexico showing lower IQs and higher instances of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children who had been exposed to fluoride as infants and while their mothers were pregnant.

To help see how exposure to common chemicals may affect pregnant women and their children, Canadian researchers created the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Research Platform to track chemical exposure and infant outcomes.

One study looked at the effects of fluoride exposure on infants by assessing their IQ scores at ages 3 and 4. They found that the children whose mothers had lived in cities with fluoridated water during pregnancy and the first six months of their lives had significantly lower IQ scores. Lower IQs were shown in both formula-fed and breast-fed children, although the formula-fed infants showed more of a decrease. The assumption there is that the exposure was greater because the formula was mixed with fluoridated tap water.

Based on these results, researchers recommend that pregnant women avoid drinking fluoridated water or using it to mix infant formula — choosing bottled water if they live in cities with fluoride added to the tap water. They also recommend that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lower the maximum safe level of fluoride in public water supplies.

Group Petitions EPA to Ban Fluoride Treatment

The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has sued the EPA over ongoing fluoridation in U.S. water supplies.

During the trial, FAN argued that many studies have proven that fluoride exposure is linked with lower IQ and other neurological effects in children. The studies FAN pointed to in the trial show that fluoride affects children’s brains at a level similar to lead, which is highly regulated and is not allowed in products to be used by pregnant women, infants, and children.

The EPA pointed to animal studies that showed the safety of fluoride exposure and dismissed the relevance of the Canadian and Mexican studies mentioned earlier. The judge in the trial seemed to reject these arguments and asked the EPA to work with FAN to come up with a solution both sides could agree to.

The Long-Term Dangers of Fluoride Exposure

Although fluoride has long been said to prevent cavities and be very low risk, studies are giving us more information on the hazards of fluoride exposure, especially during pregnancy and infancy. Prenatal exposure can happen through daily use of fluoride toothpaste, fluoride treatments administered in the dental offices, or even consumption of water, tea, and other beverages mixed with fluoridated water.

Fluoride crosses the placenta and can affect a baby’s brain development. It has been shown to accumulate in the brain.

Children who have been exposed to fluoride at levels previously accepted as safe show reduced IQ scores, other memory and learning impairments, behavioral issues, stunted development of the central nervous system, and autism. It has also been linked with discoloration of teeth, decreased thyroid function, and dementia later in life.

How We Help Victims of Toxic Exposure

The attorneys of our birth defects victims alliance understand the pain that families face when coping with life-altering birth defects—and the frustration of knowing they could have been prevented. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in birth defects litigation in cases involving toxic exposure. We have the resources and experience to fight on behalf of our clients against corporations who put them in danger. Call us to see how we can help you and your family receive justice for birth defects.