Christine Till, Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, York University, Adjunct Scientist, Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at SickKids
Abstract: Science advances by continuously challenging old ideas and adjusting our way of thinking as new knowledge emerges, even if this means that new evidence conflicts with conventional wisdom. In the past few years, emerging evidence has linked exposure to fluoride during pregnancy and early infancy with lower IQ in children. These findings, which have reignited the debate about the safety of fluoridation, have been met with both support and resistance from the scientific community. The presentation will examine why many questions about the safety of fluoridation are still not settled after 75 years of promoting this public health practice. We will then discuss recent research related to the potential for adverse health outcomes associated with fluoride exposure. The presentation will provide responses to the reactions that the research has elicited and will share experiences about the challenges researchers face when evidence counters conventional beliefs.
Brief Bio: Dr. Till is an associate professor of Psychology at York University and adjunct scientist to the Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at SickKids. She is the 2019 recipient of the President’s Emerging Research Leadership Award. Her research interests include children’s environmental health and understanding both protective and risk factors for cognitive decline following insult to the developing brain. She is the principal investigator on an NIH-funded grant focused on testing the effects of fluoride exposure during pregnancy on thyroid function and child neurodevelopment. Her team is involved in three different population-based cohorts to understand how environmental chemicals are implicated as underlying risk factors for emerging morbidities, including ADHD and thyroid disruption.
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