Children exposed to elevated levels of fluoride while in the mother’s womb display conspicuous decreases in IQ, Canadian scientists have now found, meaning the neurotoxin — long suspected by the skeptical as responsible for ‘dumbing down’ society, despite its widespread dissemination into public water supplies for the supposed sake of all our teeth and bones — really might not be as innocuous as officials insist.

To assess comprehensively, and for the first time, any deleterious effects of prenatal fluoride exposure on cognitive and neural development in youth, researchers from Toronto collected some 1,576 samples from more than 300 sets of mothers and children in Mexico — a nation which, unlike the United States, does not use the additive in public water. Fluoride can be obtained in naturally contaminated drinking water and as an addition in other products.

But, even without the additional fluoride in the Mexican water supply, researchers learned in testing the child subjects twice through the age of twelve saw their scores drop measurably, as “a decrease in IQ scores for every .5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter of a pregnant mother’s urine.”

Alone, the peer-reviewed findings do not comprise cause for paranoia — but the correlation between prenatal fluoride impact and lower IQ is only one of many links found in a parade of studies — as scientists intone the need for further analysis beyond the more than 50 already calling fluoride into question.

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“Childhood exposure to fluoride is safer than prenatal. There is pretty good science now to support the fact that the fetal system tends to be more sensitive to environmental toxicants than once the child is born,” explained Howard Hu, founding dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, as quoted by CNN.

Previous studies had not tracked individuals, measuring participants’ blood levels over such a long period — nor had controls been implemented for lead, mercury, and other toxins — but had tested external factors, such as water from the public supply and so on.

“Previous studies have found fluoride to be a potential neurotoxin at extremely high levels,” CNN explains. “Many of these studies have been conducted in China, where fluoride levels in water can be as high as 30 milligrams per liter.

“The US Public Health Service recommends an optimal level of fluoride concentration of 0.7 milligrams per liter. The Environmental Protection Agency has set a limit of 4 milligrams per liter.”

Fluoride has featured prominently in discussions among skeptics and critics, who point to the noxious product as inherently unnecessary as an additive — and there is evidence they have sufficient reason for caution.

A study in 2015 compared the teeth of Americans with their British counterparts — perhaps as an unspoken cheeky challenge to the rather disreputable stereotype garnered by the latter over a period of decades — but were shocked to find a contrary to the expected. Not only were the British found to have healthier teeth overall, they had more of them remaining than did the Americans studied. Score one for slaughtering stereotypes.

“And in a 2012 meta-analysis of 27 such studies published in Environmental Health Perspectives,” reports Zero Hedge, “researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in conjunction with China Medical University in Shenyang reported that ‘fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children,’ adding ‘children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.’”

Following up on the original findings, the Harvard cooperative team found “fluoride in drinking water may produce developmental neurotoxicity,” stating,

“Results of our pilot study showed that moderate and severe dental fluorosis was significantly associated with deficits in WISC-IV digit span. Children with moderate or severe dental fluorosis scored significantly lower in total and backward digit span tests than those with normal or questionable fluorosis. These results suggest a deficit in working memory.”

Despite its revelations, the study has found critics in the dental and medical communities, over concerns the results paint fluoride in an unnecessarily damaging light — but overall sentiment concurs the need for further comprehensive analysis and more.

(Featured image: Shuttershock)