Fluoride exposure may lead to a reduction in kidney and liver function among adolescents, according to a new US study.
The study by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York—and published in Environment International—examined the relationship between fluoride levels in drinking water and in blood samples of adolescents participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a group of studies that assess health and nutritional wellbeing in the United States.
The findings showed that exposure to fluoride may contribute to complex changes in kidney and liver function among youth in the US, where 74 per cent of public water systems add fluoride for dental health benefits.
The findings also suggest that adolescents with poorer kidney or liver function may absorb more fluoride in their bodies.
While fluoride exposure in animals and adults has been associated with kidney and liver toxicity, this study examined potential effects of chronic low-level exposure among youth. This is important to study because a child’s body excretes only 45 per cent of fluoride in urine via the kidneys, while an adult’s body clears it at a rate of 60 per cent, and the kidneys accumulate more fluoride than any other organ in the body.
“While the dental benefits of fluoride are widely established, recent concerns have been raised regarding the appropriateness of its widespread addition to drinking water or salt in North America,” study author Dr Ashley Malin said.
“This study’s findings suggest that there may be potential kidney and liver health concerns to consider when evaluating fluoride use and appropriate levels in public health interventions. Prospective studies are needed to examine the impact of chronic low-level fluoride exposure on kidney and liver function in the US population.”