ADHD, It's In the Water

We have discussed in this post how even very low levels of lead can increase the risk of Inattention, ADHD and other attention disorders.  A new study just published in the journal Toxicology has now linked water fluoridation to increased lead levels.  This is a major public health problem as most of the Western world drinks fluorinated water and is therefore at risk of the potential for increased lead levels.

The history of fluoridation started in the US when doctors in Colorado found that people with a certain type of tooth mottling, that turned out to be caused by fluoride exposure, were less likely to get cavities. Dental health was a major issue in the mid-1900s and communities started in the 1970s to implement widespread fluoridation programs. The rate of dental cavities decreased by 20-60 percent and the water fluoridation program was heralded as a huge success.

Today almost 70% of the US population drinks artificially fluridated water; 13 million school children use fluoride rinses and over 200 million Americans drink fluorinated water. Since the beginning of widespread water fluoridation there have been concerns regarding health risks. Opponents of fluoridation programs claim that fluoride is toxic and that it causes infant disease and mortality. They report that Japan has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world largely because of their decision to not implement a national fluoridation program. 

Most previous studies have shown fluoridation to be safe and to not cause adverse outcomes.  It is possible that recent research will produce more positive findings because the researchers will have taken into account the interaction of genes and environmental toxins.  Studies showing how exposures in the environment and genes interact have shed light on the possibility that certain genes may make us more susceptible to the accumulation of certain heavy medals such as lead.  Other studies, such as this one, may show that while fluoride is safe in the general population, certain populations may be at risk for blood lead accumulation. 

The fluoride study in Toxicology was done as follows.  The researchers exposed Wister rats (a sub strain or Wister rats have been found to be good models for Inattentive ADHD) to fluoride levels comparable to the fluoride levels that are normally found in humans.  These researchers found that these rats accumulated lead in their blood systems and subsequently developed blood lead levels that were dangerously high.  Several other older studies have found high lead levels in communities with silica-fluoridation programs.  The lead risks in these communities and in others may be further increased because some of the products used for fluoridation also contain lead.

Most toothpaste for very young children does not contain fluoride.  The bubble gummed flavored Barnie and Barbie toothpaste are fluorine free.  Now I know why.  My children used that toothpaste until they were about 6 or so when they switched to whatever we were using.  Our dentist specifically warned us to avoid the toothpaste without fluoride and prescribed a fluoride rinse for our kids.  My kids never used the rinse because they reported that it was 'yucky', so I used it instead.  My kids have not had cavities but I suspect that they have gotten plenty of fluoride in the water that they drink.

I wrote in this post on epigenetics about gene expression and environmental factors.  Some people believe that in children with ADHD there are exposures that turn on our ADHD genes making these children and adults more susceptible to the accumulation of heavy metals which in turn make us more susceptible to attention disorders.

The risk of fluoridated water is clearly more of a risk to children.  Developing brains are more susceptible to brain insult from heavy medals and from other toxins.  It is no longer a novel finding that increased blood lead levels in very young children is known to predispose them to poor cognitive outcomes.

 I feel that, in light of the current findings regarding fluoride, parents should monitor their children's lead level, limit the use of fluoride rinses in very young children, and should stick to the non-fluorinated toothpastes for children under 10 years of age. I should hope that this Toxicology study will initiate a public health inquiry into the effects of fluoride with regards to lead levels and the risks of ADHD and other attention disorders.

1 comment:

  1. At the end of the Second World War, the United States Government sent Charles Elliot Perkins, a research worker in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pathology, to take charge of the vast Farben chemical plants in Germany. While there, he was told by German chemists of a scheme which had been worked out by them during the war and adopted by the German General Staff.
    This scheme was to control the population in any given area through mass medication of drinking water. In this scheme, sodium fluoride occupied a prominent place.
    Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual’s power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narcotising a certain area of the brain, and will thus make him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him.
    Both the Germans and the Russians added fluoride to the drinking water of prisoners of war to make them stupid and docile.”
    It is interesting that Dr. George Estabrooks, an advisor to the United States Government on hypnotism and psychological behavior control, later became chairman of the Department of Psychology at Colgate University. Internationally, Colgate was and remains today the most ardent producer and advocate for fluoridated toothpaste. Please feel free do some more research, Maybe start with the latest Harvard study and go from there.


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