Interview Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Fluoride & Neurotoxicity

Dr. Gary Whitford of the Georgia Health Sciences University discusses findings on fluoride’s effects on learning and memory.


There is no reason to think that there’s any effect of typical fluoride exposure that we have here in the United States on neurological development, including the ability to learn or remember well. 

We performed a chronic experiment to look for the possibility of very high fluoride exposures on the ability of rats to learn a task.  There was no effect even with concentrations hundreds of times higher than we have in our human tissues.

There’s a lot of information about the possible effect of fluoride on learning, but they’re based on studies coming out of China that are not considered to be credible studies. Well, the studies have compared one community with another, and the difference between the groups was the fluoride concentration in the drinking water. Control groups had drinking water fluoride concentrations similar to what we use and then the other group had higher fluoride concentrations in the drinking water. Then the investigators administered a variety of IQ tests depending on the study. The overall difference in IQ was well within this the measurement error for IQ tests.

There’s a recent review paper by Troy and others that reviewed 27 different reports out of China. The conclusion that they drew was this. The data suggests that there might be an effect on high fluoride exposure on IQ testing, but the authors also concluded that most of the studies were poor quality, provided not enough information to evaluate the validity of their conclusions, that none of them accounted for other factors that could affect intelligence, such as lead, arsenic, or methyl mercury. And so the whole issue of this IQ testing and fluoride exposure coming out of China is based on studies that are not well designed and, and therefore you can’t really draw conclusions from them.

In my opinion, having been in this field for many years, and being familiar with literature, is that the hazards associated with it are virtually none.