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In fact, the prominent journal that published Till’s key study on fluoride and IQ said it subjected the paper to added scrutiny and peer review because of its implications. The JAMA Pediatrics editor has said he would tell his wife not to drink tap water if she were pregnant.
And separate studies from China, Mexico and other places, though also criticized and generally considered less rigorous, have had similar findings.
Barbara Joy, a university spokeswoman, said York has policies in place to deal with such requests and “we will be responding fully once we have carefully reviewed the concerns.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has declared fluoridation of drinking water one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century, reducing cavities by an estimated 25 per cent.
But it has long been a contentious issue. Opposition once veered into conspiracy-theory territory, though now relies more on published research into possible harms. The movement still has links to the scientifically dubious anti-vaccination lobby.
Till’s study last year on IQ and fluoridation thrust her into the centre of the fray. It examined maternal consumption of the chemical, both by looking at fluoride in urine and mothers’ reports of their fluoridated-water consumption.
Of the 500 mothers from six Canadian cities included in the study, those with 1 part per million more fluoride in their urine had boys whose IQ was an average of 4.5 points lower between ages three and four. Their girls had slightly higher IQs, and there was no difference when the sexes were combined.