21 August 2019

Perrin Lovett: Be Mo Smarter, Don’t Drink Da Warter

I wanted to see if the conspiracy theory theme from last week would still hold warter. Um, water. I also needed something quick as your CFF National Affairs Writer has felt better…

Another “conspiracy theory” of which you might have heard: some people have suggested that fluoridated water is bad for health. They’ve been ridiculed for that. Why? Who? How? Huh? Fluoride is essentially negatively-charged Fluorine (F, Z 9). The latter element is an extremely dangerous and corrosive oxidizer. The former anion is considerably less toxic but still comes with a maximum safe human daily allowance (10 mg). So far, so … yeah.

(Realtor or Zillow or Something)

Various municipalities add a variety of the less toxic stuff, in even much less toxic form, via either sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate, to tap water supplies. The effect, convention holds, is that this protects our teeth. There are admitted minor problems, but the net result is positive - unless you’re one of those theorists who maintain the stuff is still dangerous no matter how you compound it. Now, the theorists have a little more ammunition.

A NEW STUDY!, as heralded in The Daily Beast, finds that fluoridated water, consumed by expecting mothers, lowers the IQs of the expected chillins. The Beast story is good, pointing to some of the industry hypocrisy (in JAMA and elsewhere) as well as noting that additional studies confirmed the statistical veracity of the matter. However, this being the postmodern era, they cited the study itself indirectly through a Twitter link. I’ll give it to ya straight:

(Download the PDF for easier reading)
By: Rivka Green, MA; Bruce Lanphear, MD; Richard Hornung, PhD; David Flora, PhD; E. Angeles Martinez-Mier, DDS; Raichel Neufeld, BA; Pierre Ayotte, PhD; Gina Muckle, PhD; Christine Till, PhD.

(readable PDF)

The Results (in Abstract):

Of 512 mother-child pairs, the mean (SD) age for enrollment for mothers was 32.3 (5.1) years, 463 (90%) were white, and 264 children (52%) were female. Data on MUFSG concentrations, IQ scores, and complete covariates were available for 512 mother-child pairs; data on maternal fluoride intake and children’s IQ were available for 400 of 601 mother-child pairs. Women living in areas with fluoridated tap water (n = 141) compared with nonfluoridated water (n = 228) had significantly higher mean (SD) MUFSG concentrations (0.69 [0.42] mg/L vs 0.40 [0.27] mg/L; P = .001; to convert to millimoles per liter, multiply by 0.05263) and fluoride intake levels (0.93 [0.43] vs 0.30 [0.26] mg of fluoride per day; P = .001). Children had mean (SD) Full Scale IQ scores of 107.16 (13.26), range 52-143, with girls showing significantly higher mean (SD) scores than boys: 109.56 (11.96) vs 104.61 (14.09); P = .001. There was a significant interaction (P = .02) between child sex and MUFSG (6.89; 95% CI, 0.96-12.82) indicating a differential association between boys and girls. A 1-mg/L increase in MUFSG was associated with a 4.49-point lower IQ score (95% CI, −8.38 to −0.60) in boys, but there was no statistically significant association with IQ scores in girls (B = 2.40; 95% CI, −2.53 to 7.33). A 1-mg higher daily intake of fluoride among pregnant women was associated with a 3.66 lower IQ score (95% CI, −7.16 to −0.14) in boys and girls.

The Conclusion:

In this prospective birth cohort study from 6 cities in Canada, higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy were associated with lower IQ scores in children measured at age 3 to 4 years. These findings were observed at fluoride levels typically found in white North American women. This indicates the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.

The “FSIQ” scores referenced were specified as obtained through the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, 3rd Ed. That test and scale are derivative of the WISC-IV, V, or even R, and most appropriate (accurate) for ages 3 to 4. 

(Id, Ibid, Supra, small dots...)

I’m with the authors and others of honest bent - more and expanded analysis is needed. However, I’m not optimistic that will happen. That applecart, etc. Rounding, we’ll call the as-is IQ loss of 4 points (WISC). This reduction could possibly contribute to the huge .4 point loss per year that I’ve written about previously (10 points per [recent] generation) and the insanely dysgenic 2SD long-term drop in the West. 

My point and conclusion are that if you repeatedly experience pain, here or there, then go see a doctor. And, if the pain turns acute, do not wait a week and a half; it probably ain’t going away. Today, maybe a pill. Tomorrow (or next year…), and they cut out a sizable chunk of something. Have I mentioned Hydrocodone? I was definitely right about the damned television.

The real question, to shake all these national affairs, is… Just why is Tom selling that house in Brookline? Seriously. What the hell?