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Comment & Response
December 30, 2019

Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure and Child IQ

Author Affiliations
  • 1Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London, London, England
  • 2School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England
  • 3School of Mathematics and Statistics, The Open University, Milton Keynes, England
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(2):213-214. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5248

To the Editor We have 4 concerns about the article and editorial on the association between maternal fluoride exposure during pregnancy and offspring IQ.1,2 First, there was no significant IQ difference between children from fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities and no overall association with maternal urinary fluoride (MUFSG). The authors did not mention this and instead emphasized the significant sex interaction, where the association appeared for boys but not girls. No theoretical rationale for this test was provided; in the absence of a study preregistration, we cannot know whether it was planned a priori. If not, the false-positive probability increases because there are many potential subgroups that might show the result by chance. Importantly, the result was contradicted by the self-report analysis, which showed an overall effect but no sex interaction, casting doubt on the latter’s validity.

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