A recently published study has found  an association between widespread exposure to fluoridated water and increased Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) prevalence among U.S. children.

The study comes from the Department of Psychology at Toronto’s York University and was published in the Environmental Health journal. The researchers studied data on ADHD among children age four to seventeen collected in 2003, 2007 and 2011 as part of the National Survey of Children’s Health, as well as state water fluoridation data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected between 1992 and 2008 . It is the first study to analyze the relationship between exposure to fluoridated water and ADHD prevalence.

The team discovered children living in areas with a majority of the population receiving fluoridated water from public water systems “tended to have a greater proportion of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD. ” The researchers concluded that “this study has empirically demonstrated an association between more widespread exposure to fluoridated water and increased ADHD prevalence in U.S. children and adolescents, even after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES). The findings suggest that fluoridated water may be an environmental risk factor for ADHD.”

Previous studies have shown rats exposed to fluoride chemicals also exhibit ADHD-like symptoms. Other studies have found impaired learning and memory among rats that drank 5 mg/L of sodium fluoride treated water for six months or 20 mg/L for three months.

The paper advises that further studies are needed to understand the relationship between fluoride exposure and ADHD. ADHD was also prevalent in higher rates for males, children of low socioeconomic status (SES), older children, and for children whose parents had a high school education compared to those whose parents did not graduate highschool.

The team also found that fluoridated water is not the only source of fluoride intake for U.S. citizens. As the authors note, “the U.S. is one of the most widely fluoridated countries in the world, with approximately 74.6% of the population receiving fluoridated water for the prevention of dental caries.”  Americans are consuming Fluoride in public water systems via the addition of chemicals,  including hydrofluorosicilic acid, sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride.

The study comes on the heels of a study published in the BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which confirmed Fluoride’s negative effect on the thyroid gland and a possible connection to depression, weight gain, and other negative health effects. Researchers with the University of Kent in England examined thyroid activity for those in areas with fluoridated water and those without. The team examined 95 percent of the English population in 2012 and 2013 and found high rates of underactive thyroid were 30% more likely in areas with high fluoride concentration. An underactive thyroid can lead to depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles.

The researchers reference a previous study that found exposure to water fluoridated at relatively low concentrations and a reduced IQ among children. Based on that study they believe “it is plausible that fluoride is also contributing to attention-related symptoms given its association with lower IQ.”

Other examples of health problems related to water fluoridation include a 2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey, which found that approximately 41% of 12-15 year olds suffer from dental fluorosis, a consequence of fluoride overexposure. Dental fluorosis results in yellowing and pitting of the teeth.

For more on the history of Fluoride, health issues, and conflicts of interests with the CDC check this article.

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