“It was petrol in the 70s and 80s – what’s the equivalent today?” presenter Petra Bagust asked on TV3’s programme The Project, which covered this week’s news about lead exposure lowering IQ by more than 4 points.
“The answer is fluoride,” says Mary Byrne, National Coordinator for Fluoride Free NZ. “All of the discussion on The Project applies to fluoride in water.”
Using data from the Dunedin Longitudinal study, the authors concluded that children exposed to lead in the 1960s and 1970s have suffered ‘long term ramifications’ with lower cognitive function, lower socio-economic status at age 38 years and downward social mobility.
Leaded petrol was not banned in New Zealand until 1996, a twenty-six year delay from when researchers first raised the alarm bells.
Public Health Expert, Professor Nick Wilson, was interviewed on the programme and said, “When you are dealing with children’s intelligence, and you’re dealing with a neurotoxin, you really have to prioritise the well-being of children. You should take a precautionary approach so that even if all the evidence is not in, governments need to act.”
“It is astonishing,” says Ms Byrne, “that Professor Wilson is ignoring the research showing fluoride’s harm to the brain, which is mounting virtually by the day. Using his own reasoning, he should be calling for the Precautionary Principle to be applied to fluoridation now.”
According to Professor Connett, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Toxicity, and director the USA-based Fluoride Action Network, “Fluoride is now in the same place as lead was in the 1970s.”
“In humans, 51 out of 58 IQ studies have shown an association between fluoride exposure and lowered IQ. This is a remarkable consistency when you consider that these studies have been conducted by different authors in different geographical areas in four different countries around the world over a period of 22 years. There is also a consistency between animal and human studies – over 30 animal studies show that fluoride reduces the ability to learn and memorise in maze tests.”
Next to the oil industry, the Ministry of Health was the main opponent to removing lead from petrol and were supported by the Royal Society of NZ. “The government has obviously not learnt its lesson and is now refusing to take a precautionary approach to fluoridation despite a growing body of health professionals and scientists calling for a halt to fluoridation,” says Ms Byrne.
A Harvard meta-analysis of the 27 human studies on fluoride and IQ, published in the prestigious Lancet Medical Journal, found that fluoride in water reduced IQ by an average of seven IQ points.
The US Government is currently undertaking studies to try to ascertain at what dose this harm occurs. In contrast, the NZ Government is considering a new fluoridation Bill to increase fluoride exposure.
Fluoridation chemicals also contain trace amounts of lead and other heavy metals also known to be neurotoxins. A number of studies in the past 18 years have found that fluoridation chemicals increase the uptake of lead.
“Surely, if ever there was a time for the Precautionary Principle to be responsibly applied it should be now. Fluoride has been known for a long time as the protected pollutant, but nowadays it should also be known as the protected neurotoxin.”