ABSTRACT: Community water fluoridation refers to the controlled practice of adding fluoride to drinking water for the prevention of tooth decay. Most of the research supporting water fluoridation is now decades old and there is ongoing controversy as to its safety and risks. This talk will discuss the current controversy related to the efficacy and safety of this public health intervention, with particular focus on early life exposure to fluoride. The talk will present ongoing research that is using data from a national pregnancy cohort study: “Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals” to test whether early life exposure to fluoride adversely impacts cognition and behaviour in Canadian children. This talk will also discuss fluoride and health-related research that is being conducted on two other population-based cohorts: ELEMENT and CHMS. The safety of community water fluoridation will be discussed in the context of contemporary exposures to fluoride.
BRIEF BIO: Dr. Till is an Associate Professor of Psychology at York University, an Adjunct Scientist to the Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at The Hospital for Sick Children, and a clinical neuropsychologist. Her research interests include children’s environmental health and understanding both protective and risk factors for cognitive decline following brain injury and neurodegenerative disease. Related to environmental health, Dr. Till is the principal investigator on an NIH-funded grant focused on testing the effects of exposure to fluoride during pregnancy and early-life on child behavioural outcome. Her team is involved in three different population-based cohorts to understand how environmental chemicals are implicated as underlying risk factors for emerging morbidities in childhood, including ADHD.