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Neurobehavioral Issues Increased in Children With Prenatal Fluoride Exposure

Odds of Total Problems T score being in borderline clinical or clinical range increased with higher levels of maternal urinary fluoride

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 21, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Prenatal fluoride exposure is associated with increased neurobehavioral problems, according to a study published online May 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Ashley J. Malin, Ph.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined associations of third-trimester maternal urinary fluoride (MUF) with child neurobehavior at age 3 years in a prospective cohort study. Urine samples archived from 2017 to 2020 and neurobehavioral data assessed from 2020 to 2023 were obtained for a pregnancy cohort, consisting of predominantly Hispanic women residing in Los Angeles.

Data were included for 229 mother-child pairs who had specific gravity-adjusted MUF (MUFSG). The researchers found that a one-interquartile range increase in MUFSG was associated with significantly increased odds of the Total Problems T score being in the borderline clinical or clinical range (odds ratio, 1.83) and with a 2.29- and a 2.14-point increase in T score for the Internalizing Problems composite and the Total Problems composite, respectively.

“These findings suggest that there may be a need to establish recommendations for limiting exposure to fluoride from all sources during the prenatal period, a time when the developing brain is known to be especially vulnerable to injury from environmental insults,” the authors write.

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