(NaturalNews) Science continues to provide more evidence that fluoride, which is added to most public drinking water systems in the U.S. as a way to fight tooth decay, causes more harm than good.
The Fluoride Action Network said in a press release that a newly discovered and translated study found that fluoride is linked to lower IQ, even at ranges added to U.S. water supplies. Moreover, the group said, fluoridation promoters "misrepresented" data from a recent Harvard fluoride/IQ study.
In all, FAN said, 34 studies now link fluoride to lower IQ levels in humans, while scores of other studies correlate fluoride to learning and memory impairment, fetal brain damage, altered neurobehavioral function and altered thyroid hormone levels.
"Legislators who mandate fluoridation without carefully considering this research are doing a profound disservice to the health and welfare of their constituents," attorney Michael Connett of FAN said.
In a macro review of 27 fluoride/IQ studies, Harvard researchers concluded recently that the chemical's effect on children's developing brains should be a "high research priority," especially in the United States which, they concluded, has never investigated the effects of fluoride on the brain.
Advocates of fluoridation; however, misinterpreted the research, then misled investigators in Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Witchita, Kan., and other locations by stating the Harvard research isn't relevant to Americans, FAN said.
The advocates claimed that the Harvard study found only a one-half-point difference in IQ, and that the fluoride levels were much higher than Americans normally encounter.
"That's wrong," said the group, in its press release.
FAN says the Harvard team found that fluoride exposure was associated with statistically significant reductions of seven IQ points - far more than the half-point drop claimed by one advocate, Dr. Myron Allukian.
He, along with the Pew Children's Dental Campaign and other advocates like Portland Mayor Sam Adams, have all said the Harvard study focused on fluoride levels of 11.5 mg/l. But, FAN says, only one of the studies was at 11.5 mg/l.
The group said the majority of water studies looked at by the team of Harvard researchers examined fluoride levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is safe - fewer than four mg/l.
The group noted:
-- One study, which was sponsored by UNICEF, found that IQ was reduced at just .88 mg/l of fluoride, a level within the "optimal" range added to U.S. drinking water systems for about 200 million Americans.
-- Seven studies found reduced IQ levels among children who drank water containing between 2.1 mg/l and 4.0 mg/l, or levels that 1.4 million Americans consume daily.
-- Four studies found effects at levels between 1.8 and 2.0 mg/l - levels that over 200,000 Americans drink every day.
What's the right thing for government to do?
The EPA's conventional approach to risk assessment generally limits exposure to chemical levels that are 10 times less than those known to cause adverse effects. With fluoride levels and IQ, the levels of the chemical in water and urine are, at most, just two or three times more than the amount to which tens of millions of American kids are exposed, the group said.
What's more, FAN points out that children who have iodine deficiencies are particularly susceptible to harm by fluoride, adding that iodine deficiency has risen significantly in recent years, now affecting some 12 percent of the U.S. population.
"The question legislators should be asking themselves is, 'Do I wait until public health officials catch up with the scientific literature that now shows fluoride can cause serious neurological harm to children, or do I take my leadership role seriously and stop fluoridation immediately,'" said FAN Executive Director, Paul Connett, Ph.D. "I think the latter is the only ethical answer."