Working Paper Series
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy
The Effects of Fluoride in the Drinking Water
() and Mattias Öhman
Abstract: Fluoridation of the drinking water is a public policy
whose aim is to improve dental health. Although the evidence is clear that
fluoride is good for dental health, concerns have been raised regarding
potential negative effects on cognitive development. We study the effects
of fluoride exposure through the drinking water throughout life on
cognitive and non-cognitive ability, math test scores and labor market
outcomes in a large-scale setting. We use a rich Swedish register dataset
for the cohorts born 1985–1992 in the main analysis, together with drinking
water fluoride data. To estimate the effects, we exploit intra-municipality
variation of fluoride, stemming from an exogenous variation in the bedrock.
Taking all together, we investigate and confirm the long-established
positive relationship between fluoride and dental health. Second, we find
precisely estimated zero-effects on cognitive ability, non-cognitive
ability and math test scores for fluoride levels in Swedish drinking water.
Third, we find that fluoride improves later labor market outcomes, which
indicates that good dental health is a positive factor on the labor
Keywords: fluoride; cognitive development; labor market outcomes; dental health; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H42; I10; I18; (follow links to similar papers)
81 pages, October 24, 2017
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