Fluoride Action Network

Big toenail and hair samples as biomarkers for fluoride exposure

Source: BMC Series blog | June 17th, 2019 | By Alison Cuff
Location: Turkey

These days, we are exposed to a number of sources of fluoride, including water (naturally occurring or added artificially), food that has been exposed to fluoride (particularly through the use of pesticides) and dental products (toothpaste, mouthwash etc). High levels of fluoride exposure can lead to a number of health problems, for example, skin conditions, such as acne; heart problems; high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.

The degree of fluoride exposure can be measured using biomarkers, substances that can be used to examine changes in the body that may lead to health conditions or disease.

Here, Elekdag-Turk et al, have used toenail and hair samples as biomarkers for fluoride exposure. Toenails and hair are considered to be particularly suitable as they are collected in a non-invasive way and the concentration of the fluoride is believed to represent the average level of fluoride intake and concentration of the trace element on the blood over an extended period of time.

Samples from big toenails and hair were taken from participants living in a region with a high concentration of fluoride in drinking water (endemic fluorosis region) and participants living in a region where there Is a low level of fluoride in the drinking water (non-endemic fluorosis region).

Results showed that the mean fluoride concentrations found in both biomarkers were significantly higher in the endemic fluorosis region compared to the endemic fluorosis region. The fluoride assay for big toenails were found to be more accurate than that for hair, leading the authors to conclude that both nail and hair samples can serve as biomarkers for fluoride exposure but bog toenails are better.

*Original article online at http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/elekdag-turk-2019.pd
*Review article by Alison Cuff online here.