A recent letter to the editor about the bad effects of fluoride in drinking water overstated the writer’s case (“Good enough for public, but not the government,” March 4 by Maurice Anholt).
The Harvard study quoted demonstrating loss of IQ points in children was a metadata analysis of children in China, comparing areas where there is more (or less) fluoride added to the water. We don’t know any specifics about other factors in play. For example, in some areas of China, ships from Europe dump electronic waste and dead batteries on the shore, where it is disassembled by people who make their living selling wire and components. The water in those areas is extremely toxic with this waste. Attributing IQ deficits to fluoride in the water in some areas of China is not particularly meaningful to us in the U.S.
It is also important to remember that many, maybe even most, otherwise healthful vitamins and minerals can be detrimental or toxic in large quantities. We depend on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for research and regulation to protect us from overdoses. I encourage people to read both sides of this issue, easy to do through Google and Wikipedia, before accepting anti-fluoride opinions at face value. Check out statements from sources such as the American Cancer Society and the National Kidney Foundation who have public health interests at heart.