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U.S. Surgeon General Quietly Backpedaled on Water Fluoridation 5 Years Ago, Emails Reveal

After decades of pushing water fluoridation as one of the greatest public health accomplishments in U.S. history, the U.S. surgeon general’s office stopped issuing public statements of support after a National Toxicology Program report linked fluoride to children’s lower IQs.

For more than seven decades, U.S. public health officials steadfastly supported water fluoridation, claiming the practice is a key strategy for maintaining and improving dental health.

Even today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls water fluoridation one of the “ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

However, internal email communications shared with The Defender suggest that as early as 2020, officials at the highest levels of the U.S. Public Health Service — the Office of the Surgeon General — were having second thoughts.

“These emails show that despite public statements to the contrary, there is a lot of concern in the federal government about the potential link between fluoridated drinking water and lower IQs,” said Michael Connett.

Connett, an attorney, represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The suit seeks to end water fluoridation based on science linking low-level fluoride exposure to lower IQ scores in children.

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