Potential health side effects include renal system damage, liver damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone and tooth disease, and impaired protein metabolism. (Photo: Representational/Pixabay)
Washington: Fluoride exposure may lead to a reduction in kidney and liver function in adolescents, suggests a study. The study published in the journal 'Environment International' by Mount Sinai researchers examined the relationship between fluoride levels in drinking water and blood with kidney and liver health among adolescents.
The findings showed that exposure to fluoride may contribute to complex changes in kidney and liver function among youth in the United States, 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 the 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 percent, and the kidneys accumulate more fluoride than any other organ in the body.
"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," said Ashley J. Malin, the study's first author. The study analysed fluoride measured in blood samples of 1,983 adolescents and the fluoride content of the tap water in the homes of 1,742 adolescents.
Although the tap water fluoride concentrations were generally low, there are several mechanisms by which even low levels of fluoride exposure may contribute to kidney or liver dysfunction. This study's findings, combined with previous studies of childhood exposure to higher fluoride levels, show there is a dose-dependent relationship between fluoride and indicators of kidney and liver function.
Potential health side effects include renal system damage, liver damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone and tooth disease, and impaired protein metabolism.