Is the cumulative effect of exposure to fluoride from water, air, toothpaste, and foods prepared with fluoridated water dangerous over a lifetime? No.
Studies of fluoride intake from water, air, fluoride-containing dental products and food have shown that fluoride consumption, in an optimally fluoridated community is well within the safe limits for human health. Fluoride levels in air are extremely low, thus contributing little to a person’s overall fluoride intake. Fluoride levels in water, diet, and toothpaste vary considerably; therefore, an individual's exposure to fluoride varies. A person's age, weight, diet, drinking water source, frequency of use of fluoride-containing products, and climate all can contribute to a person’s total exposure (U.S. Public Health Service, 1991). A comparison study was conducted looking at postmortem examinations of organs, bones, and tissues of long-time residents of Bartlett and Cameron, Texas, where the water supplies contained 8.0 ppm and 0.4 ppm of fluoride, respectively. The study showed that, other than a higher prevalence of dental fluorosis in Bartlett residents, lifetime consumption of dietary fluoride at levels considerably higher than recommended for caries prevention, posed no hazard to human health (Leone, 1955). The National Academy of Sciences studied the effects of continuous low level consumption of fluoride over long periods and found that daily intake required to produce symptoms of chronic toxicity after years of consumption is 20-80 ppm or more for 10-20 years, depending upon body weight, which is equivalent to at least 10 ppm of naturally occurring fluoride. No danger exists from drinking optimally fluoridated water (U.S. Public Health Service, 1991).
U.S. Public Health Service. 1991. Report of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee to Coordinate Envirorunental Health and Related Programs. Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks. February; Washington, D.C.
Leone, N.C.. et. al. 1955. Review of the Bartlett-Cameron survey: a ten year fluoride study. J. Amer. Dent. Assoc.; 50:277-8 1.
U.S. Public Health Service, op cit
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