“Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.” — General Jack D. Ripper, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”
That quote is delivered in the 1964 movie that parodies the futility of nuclear war. General Ripper, played to the hilt by Sterling Hayden, dispatches a group of B-52 bombers to destroy the Soviet Union. As soldiers and politicians try to stop the attack, Ripper explains that fluoridation was added to public water supplies in 1946, coinciding with the rise of communism.
“A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works,” Ripper explains before he is killed.
Of course, the movie is meant to be a dark comedy, but I suspect Gen. Ripper’s sentiments will once again come to the forefront, thanks to a new study published by the Pediatric Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study made news last week when the authors postulated that mothers who drink fluoridated water give birth to children with lower intelligence quotients (IQ) than mothers who drank water that was not fluoridated. Researchers also measured intakes of black tea, which is also high in fluoride.
Researchers from Toronto’s York University compared the fluoride intake of 400 women, some who lived in fluoridated cities and some who did not. They controlled for factors such as household income and the women’s education. A 1 milligram daily increase in fluoride intake was associated with a 3.7-point drop in children’s IQ, they found.
Researchers acquired data and frozen urine samples previously collected by Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals, or MIREC. That project, run by Canada’s public health department, studied thousands of mothers who gave birth between 2008 and 2012. MIREC researchers measured the toddlers’ IQ after the children turned 3.
The scientists observed that a 1 milligram-per-liter increase in urine fluoride predicted a drop in IQ of 4.5 points in young boys. When the researchers examined the urine of mothers who had daughters, however, fluoride had no association with IQ.
Like many scientific studies on what we consume and how it impacts our lives, this study raises more questions than it answers. Officials at the American Dental Association defended fluoridation as a tried and true method to prevent tooth decay. They argue that children with cavities will miss more school because of their bad teeth, which will hinder the development of their IQ.
The truth is more than likely somewhere in between the two opinions.
Fluoridated water is not a communist plot. It is an essential public health tool that has been in use for nearly three quarters of a century. If expectant mothers are concerned about this study, there are numerous places to get water. If this study causes more scrutiny to what goes into the public water supply, that’s a good thing.
I sincerely hope that this study and ones like them are not used as an excuse for victimhood. There are many things that determine our intelligence as soon as we leave the womb. Experts tell us that the first five years are crucial in a child’s development. It is important that we do everything we can to help children succeed, including caring for their teeth.
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