Water fluoridation is a common but debated public policy. In this paper, we use Swedish registry data to study the causal effects of fluoride in drinking water. We exploit exogenous variation in natural fluoride stemming from variation in geological characteristics at water sources to identify its effects. First, we reconfirm the long-established positive effect of fluoride on dental health. Second, we estimate a zero effect on cognitive ability in contrast to several recent debated epidemiological studies. Third, fluoride is furthermore found to increase labor income. This effect is foremost driven by individuals from a lower socioeconomic background.
That is from a forthcoming JPE paper by Linuz Aggeborn and Mattias Öhman.
I remember the hysteria that arose when Los Angeles decided to fluoridate its drinking water.
It’s not a communist plot — the communists merely had the lowest bid. 😉