Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in a National Birth Cohort
Green, Rivka Ruth
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Background: The potential neurotoxicity of exposure to fluoride, which has sparked controversy about community water fluoridation, is poorly understood. Objective: To test the association between prenatal fluoride exposure and childhood IQ in 512 Canadian mother-child pairs. Methods: We measured fetal exposure to fluoride using: (a) maternal urinary fluoride (MUF) during pregnancy; (b) fluoride concentration in water; and (c) fluoride intake estimated from beverage consumption. We evaluated childrens IQ using the Wechsler Primary and Preschool Scale of Intelligence-III. Multiple linear regression analyses examined covariate-adjusted associations between fluoride predictors and IQ. Results: Higher MUF levels predicted lower IQ in males (B=-4.49, p=.02) but not females. Higher levels of water fluoride and fluoride intake predicted a main effect of diminished IQ. Conclusion: Exposure to fluoride during fetal development is associated with lower IQ scores. These findings, which suggest that fluoride is neurotoxic, underscore the need to critically evaluate the practice of water fluoridation.