It's Official: Fluoride Makes Your Kid Dumb

OMG 58

glass of waterA retired dentist friend of mine has been saying for years that fluoride in tap water is dangerous. And for years I've been half wondering why she thinks it's dangerous, and half hoping she's just wrong. Well, I can't ignore the warnings anymore. A Harvard University study has concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have significantly lower IQ scores than kids who live in areas with low-fluoride water.


I live in one of those high-fluoridated water areas. New York City loves itself some fluoridated water -- in a big way. And my son drinks tap water. So what's a parent to do? Panic?

I contacted that dentist friend of mine, Dr. Susan Rubin, to find out what she recommends. Like most dentists, she was taught in dental school that fluoride saves teeth, and it never occurred to her to question that (even after her patients started bringing it up) until her own daughter came down with thyroid problems. Oh yeah, fluoride can affect that, too. She did her own research and was alarmed at what she found. She tried to get her town to stop putting fluoride in her water, but they refused.

More from The Stir: The Toxic Truth About Cute 'Kiddie' Bowls & Dishes

Moderate amounts of fluoride appear to benefit the teeth of children ages 1 through 7. But for babies under 1 who drink formula from a powder mix, it's especially harmful. If you mix your formula with tap water, you could be giving your baby about 200 times the regular does of fluoride. (Breast milk filters out the fluoride taken in by nursing moms through tap water.) Even the CDC recommends infants under 1 not be fed fluoridated tap water.

One thing you can do is buy a special filter that targets fluoride (filters for chlorine won't do the job). Dr. Rubin recommends Berkey filters -- if you can afford them, that is. Unfortunately, those filters are kind of expensive. I guess there's always bottled water, but that's a whole other mess to navigate, not to mention the expense there, too. "Only people with a lot of money can do something about their water, and that makes fluoridating municipal tap water unethical," Dr. Rubin says.

Hopefully, now that this study is out, more leaders will listen to concerned parents and health professional and reconsider not fluoridating tap water. Maybe we should all email our respective mayors a copy of this study, which you can download for free. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more, you can check out Fluoride Action Network.

Did you know that fluoridated water could be harmful?


Image via michitux/Flickr

in the news, nutrition, toddler health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Shandi80 Shandi80

Fluoride also calcifies your pineal gland. I drink distilled water. No fluroide and it pulls the bad minerals out of your body.

handy... handy0318

Fluoride is really bad stuff... When we brought our son home, he came from a city that had fluoride in the water and...he was also given fluoride drops!  We stopped that crap as soon as we brought him home and as we have a natural well filled with about the best water on the planet, we noticed a number of issues clearing up.  The one thing that didn't clear up was the fact that all the fluoride totally ruined his baby teeth...they were stained like a smoker's, filled with cavities and constantly chipping and crumbling.  However, the permenent teeth came in just fine.  I don't think he has any lasting damage from it, but wow...If we had to live in a place that put fluoride in the water, it would be bottled water for us for certain!

handy... handy0318

I wish there were some serious studies being done on possible links between fluoride and autism...


cleig... cleigh717

Who benefits if the municipal water is flouridated? I just don't get the point when its been known for yrs that flouride in the water isn't good for you. Rubbing flouride on your teeth is on the otherhand.

Luisa... LuisaPerkins

Yep, we bought a schmancy whole-house filter years ago because of this. Fluoride is a poison. Putting it in municipal water is a way to get rid of an industrial waste product. 

bella... bellacazzate

...this study is quite old I believe (at least in modern times). I think it's from the summer? Also, if I remember, they deemed the research to be inapplicable to the US since the majority of the research was from foreign sources--mainly China. Has there been anything new written about this since then? I can't find anything past mid-September from a credible source. 

nonmember avatar Coe

I would not argue that fluoride in water is safe, but the study doesn't prove that exposure to fluoride in drinking water results in lower IQs. It is a meta-analysis, which means the researchers took date from lots of other studies and used it to look for a correlation between fluoride in water and IQ. However, in most of the studied they used, the researchers admit that important variables, such as parental education levels, were not available so there was no way to control for those variables. The researchers concluded that there may be a correlation between fluoride in water and children's IQs and neurological development and that more study is warranted. That sounds reasonable. Not saying fluoride isn't potentially problematic at all, but the headline of this article greatly overstates what the researchers themselves are claiming. (We also know that environmental factors are not the only predictors of IQ. Parental IQ is a very big predictor of children's IQs. This study couldn't control for that.)

Craft... CraftyJenna

Fluoride is not safe, it's toxic and it should be removed from our water. We don't just drink it, we cook with it, bathe in it, wash our hands in it. 

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

Yes, I knew fluoride is harmful.  It should be removed from our drinking water.  If morons want it for their teeth, then they should be able to buy it in a bottle to add to their own water.

nonmember avatar kat

It's the dose that makes the poison. Note that the water must be "highly flouridated"--as in, there is a threshold between okay and detrimental, and I'd bet money that's more than what most regulations require. A good drinking water department will make sure that flouridation levels are not excessive. Here, it's a trade-off. Yes, a little flouride will help you not get cavities, and yes, too much will have detrimental effects. However, you can't freak out over tap water every time. For the most part, it's perfectly safe. I've been drinking it since I was a baby, and I've had few cavities. I'd also like to think I'm decently intelligent. If you follow the recommendation of filtering your tap water for kids under a certain age, they'll be fine with it as they get older.

1-10 of 58 comments 12345 Last