Practically overnight, fluoride joined the likes of lead, arsenic, methylmercury, toluene and other chemicals known to damage brain tissue, reports the Fluoride Action Network (FAN).
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In the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology, the highly prevalent chemical was reclassified as a developmental neurotoxin by medical authorities.
The authors, Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine write, "A meta-analysis of 27 cross-sectional studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water, mainly from China, suggests an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations."
The majority of these 27 studies had water fluoride levels of less than four milligrams per liter, which falls under the allowable level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Developmental neurotoxins, which are capable of causing widespread brain disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities, often cause untreatable and permanent damage.
Grandjean and Landrigan write, "Our very great concern is that children worldwide are being exposed to unrecognized toxic chemicals that are silently eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, truncating future achievements and damaging societies, perhaps most seriously in developing countries."
To help protect children's brain development, the authors say it's extremely important to control the use of such harmful chemicals. In the study, they have proposed mandatory testing of these chemicals and request an immediate formation of a new international clearinghouse to evaluate them for potential neurotoxicity.
"Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain," Grandjean says. "The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us."
"In light of the new classification of fluoride as a dangerous neurotoxin, adding more fluoride to American's already excessive intake no longer has any conceivable justification. We should follow the evidence and try to reduce fluoride intake, not increase it," said Paul Connett, PhD, FAN executive director, in a prepared statement.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report roughly 276 million Americans consume fluoridated drinking water, largely as a result of the CDC's vigorous advocacy to maintain and elevate those consumption numbers.
Yet the CDC's own evidence reveals Americans already show symptoms of fluoride-overexposure and reports that 41 percent of American teenagers have dental fluorosis, a physical sign that they ingested too much fluoride while their teeth were forming. Evidence also indicates these markers in the U.S. are not decreasing over time, but are increasing.
Connett asks, "Why would the CDC persist in going against the tide of evidence to promote higher fluoride intake? Sadly, it seems, health agencies in fluoridated countries seem to be more intent on protecting the fluoridation program than protecting children's brains."