So there I was last Sunday, filling my son’s sippy cup with tap water, when my friend told me about a Huffington Post article making the parenting rounds—the one titled “Harvard Study Confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ.” I set down my Brita pitcher, knowing that fluoride was one of the few chemicals it doesn’t remove, and sighed. Well, shit.
Then I read the actual article, realized it was written by Dr. Joseph Mercola, the alternative physician who distinguishes himself as not being driven by “whatever has the most profit potential,” yet who sells fluoride-free toothpaste and hundreds of other products on his website (some of which have been slammed by the FDA for illegal marketing), and felt much better. Mercola frequently overstates the science and misleads his many readers—among other things, he preaches that vaccines cause autism and that homeopathy cures it, and oh, that animals are psychic—and this story (thankfully) is no different: The study on which he based his HuffPo article did find an association between high fluoride consumption and child IQ, but the findings aren’t applicable to American kids for a number of reasons.
And she procedes to give an even-handed view of why.
Our original piece on the Harvard study was here: Anatomy of a propaganda press release: Fluoride and IQ.
Since then, I’ve seen the connection between fluoride and IQ around reddit and various forums touted as evidence about how awful fluoride is or by people confused if it’s true or not.
This study obviously has bits that have been warped to fit personal agendas. This is why you must be diligent about the news if you really want to know the true story.
Here’s another bit of advice. If you want reliable health info, the VERY LAST place you should go is to Mercola.
I would like to state that I REALLY REALLY wish the Huffington Post would not allow those with such wrongheaded ideas to write on their site. It shouldn’t always be about money. It should be about integrity to your readers too.