Scientists at the University of Kent have discovered recently a link that connects high levels of fluoride in water with weight gain, fatigue, and even depression, according to the UK Daily Mail.
The study reveals "water fluoridation above a certain level is linked to 30 percent higher than expected rates of hypothyroidism in England," the news site says. This is causing many researchers and scientists to call for policy revision in public health.
Adding fluoride in water is a popular practice amongst communities as it helps protect against tooth decay.
The leader of the research was Prof. Stephen Peckham, of the university's Center for Health Service Study, and he said, "Consideration needs to be given to reducing fluoride exposure, and public dental health interventions should stop those reliant on ingested fluoride and switch to topical fluoride-based and non-fluoride based interventions."
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Many other researchers have decried the findings, however, claiming that the methods used during the study were flawed.
The Public Health England, an executive agency of the United Kingdom's Department Of Health, dismissed the study, saying, "Decades of research tells us that water fluoridation is a safe and effective public health measure, and shows no association with reduced thyroid function."
Prof. David Coggon of the University of Southampton also dismissed the research.
"As epidemiological evidence goes," the professor told reporters, "this is about as weak as it gets.
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"Essentially the researchers have shown that after limited adjustment for demographic differences, there are somewhat higher rates of hypothyroidism, which can result from a number of different diseases, in four areas of England that have higher concentrations in drinking water," he added.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that prevents the thyroid from producing vital hormones. As such, many people with the condition gain weight, become depressed, and grow tired over time.
The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.