The debate on the fluoridation of drinking water — one of the most polarized, long-running, and high-decibel controversies in public health — has been reignited as new studies find that fluoride is toxic to the developing brain.
Last week, the U.S. National Toxicology Program released a systematic review of all published studies evaluating the potential neurotoxicity of fluoride; the benefits of fluoride with respect to reducing tooth decay were not addressed. A committee of the National Academy of Science, Medicine, and Engineering will review it this fall. This comprehensive report scrutinized hundreds of human and animal studies on the impact of fluoride on brain and cognitive function. Most, but not all, of the high-quality studies evaluated fluoride concentrations that were about twice the level added to drinking water or higher. However, when considering all the evidence, their conclusion was “fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive developmental hazard to humans.”