, Volume 126, Issue 1-3, pp 115-120
Date: 10 Aug 2008

Fluoride and Children’s Intelligence: A Meta-analysis

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Abstract

This paper presents a systematic review of the literature concerning fluoride that was carried out to investigate whether fluoride exposure increases the risk of low intelligence quotient (IQ) in China over the past 20 years. MEDLINE, SCI, and CNKI search were organized for all documents published, in English and Chinese, between 1988 and 2008 using the following keywords: fluorosis, fluoride, intelligence, and IQ. Further search was undertaken in the website www.fluorideresearch.org because this is a professional website concerning research on fluoride. Sixteen case–control studies that assessed the development of low IQ in children who had been exposed to fluoride earlier in their life were included in this review. A qualitative review of the studies found a consistent and strong association between the exposure to fluoride and low IQ. The meta-analyses of the case–control studies estimated that the odds ratio of IQ in endemic fluoride areas compared with nonfluoride areas or slight fluoride areas. The summarized weighted mean difference is −4.97 (95%confidence interval [CI] = −5.58 to −4.36; p < 0.01) using a fixed-effect model and −5.03 (95%CI = −6.51 to 3.55; p < 0.01) using a random-effect model, which means that children who live in a fluorosis area have five times higher odds of developing low IQ than those who live in a nonfluorosis area or a slight fluorosis area.