Aug 16, 2012 | Heidi Stevenson
A study shows that children lose enough intelligence to drop from average to well below the 25th percentile when exposed to water fluoridation levels that the EPA considers acceptable.
Fluoride is a neurotoxin. That fact is clearly demonstrated in the results of a new study showing that children’s intelligence is seriously and dramatically harmed by its addition to drinking water in quantities that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves.
The authors of Effect of fluoride exposure on the intelligence of school children in Madhya Pradesh, India carefully eliminated confounders, such as lead, which can also have negatives effects on intelligence. They wrote:
We have found a significant inverse relationship between intelligence and the water fluoride level, and intelligence and the urinary fluoride level. …The study examined 12-year-old children in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. Only children whose drinking water contained at least 1.5 parts per million (PPM) were included. The 120 children were all in from government schools. Thier villages had similar populations and demographics. Another 50 children were selected from an area of Madhya Pradesh where the water fluoridation was less than 1.5 PPM.
… The impact of fluoride on intelligence has been reported by a number of studies. Many of them have several shortcomings, like the lack of adjustment for confounders, no biological markers, no quantification for other neurotoxic pollutants, and so on. Despite all of that, these studies suggest that fluoride negatively impacts intelligence.
In terms of fluoride in their drinking water, the number of children in each group was:
- <1.5 PPM: 50 children
- 1.5 – 3.0 PPM: 39 children
- 3.1 – 4.5 PPM: 43 children
- >4.5: 38 children
The fluoride content of urine was analyzed in the samples collected from the first urine of the morning. Intelligence testing was done using the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices, and the scores were converted to percentiles. These percentiles were then classified by grades:
- Grade I: Intellectually superior, 95th percentile or higher
- Grade II: Above average: ≥75th and <95th percentile
- Grade III: Average: ≥25th and <75th percentile
- Grade IV: Below average: ≤25th percentile
- Grade V: Intellectually impaired: ≤5th percentile
The graph to the left shows the degree of intelligence of children found in each of the levels of water fluoridation. (Please note that the bar for the 1.5 PPM group is incorrectly portrayed. It should be significantly shorter. The other three bars are also displaced, but not as severely.)
Notice that the lowest level of fluoridation resulted in children of slightly higher than average intelligence. This is to be expected, because those with the lowest intelligence are not likely to be in classrooms.
The next-higher group of children, the ones who had ingested water with 1.5 – 3.0 PPM of fluoride, lost enough intelligence to move them almost completely outside the average range (25th to 75th percentile).
The group of children whose water was fluoridated between 3.1 and 4.5 PPM dropped well below the 25th percentile, and those children whose water carried even higher levels of fluoride lost even more of their intelligence potential.
To put this into perspective, consider the EPA’s standards. They allow water to be fluoridated up 4.0 PPM. That’s at the high end of the group who had dropped an average of 34% down the percentile scale.
The authors concluded:
In conclusion, data from this research supports that children exposed to fluoride are at risk for impaired development of intelligence. Millions of children around the world are exposed to high concentration of fluoride in water, and are therefore, potentially at risk. For the benefit of the upcoming generations, urgent attention needs to be focused on this substantial public health problem.As the authors warn, millions of children around the world are at risk from fluoridated water. Those children are not found primarily in poverty-struck nations. According to the EPA’s standard, as much as 4.0 PPM fluoride is just fine in drinking water. Countless American children are exposed to brain-damaging levels of fluoride. The European Union has a standard significantly lower. It is, in fact, 1.5 PPM, the figure used by this study as the maximum normal level.
Apparently, the EPA has no problem with American children losing enough intelligence to drop from higher than average to the bottom 25 percent!
Graphic is from MorgueFile.com with filter applied.
- Effect of fluoride exposure on the intelligence of school children in Madhya Pradesh, India J Neurosci Rural Pract [serial online] 2012 [cited 2012 Aug 16];3:144-9
- What are EPA’s drinking water regulations for fluoride?
- EU’s drinking water standards