Physiologic Conditions Affect Toxicity of Ingested Industrial Fluoride

Abstract

The effects of calcium ion and broad pH ranges on free fluoride ion aqueous concentrations were measured directly and computed theoretically. Solubility calculations indicate that blood fluoride concentrations that occur in lethal poisonings would decrease calcium below prevailing levels. Acute lethal poisoning and also many of the chronic effects of fluoride involve alterations in the chemical activity of calcium by the fluoride ion. Natural calcium fluoride with low solubility and toxicity from ingestion is distinct from fully soluble toxic industrial fluorides. The toxicity of fluoride is determined by environmental conditions and the positive cations present. At a pH typical of gastric juice, fluoride is largely protonated as hydrofluoric acid HF. Industrial fluoride ingested from treated water enters saliva at levels too low to affect dental caries. Blood levels during lifelong consumption can harm heart, bone, brain, and even developing teeth enamel. The widespread policy known as water fluoridation is discussed in light of these findings.

 

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