CAIRNS residents have been unknowingly drinking fluoride for more than a century %u2013 in cups of tea.
As Cairns Regional Council prepares to put fluoride into Far Northern water supplies within the next two weeks, a leading expert on fluoride has revealed locals have been drinking the chemical in cups of tea, without ill effect, all their lives.
RMIT University toxicologist Professor Colin Rix, who has 20 years’ experience studying fluoride as it naturally occurs in the environment, said tea leaves contained a natural, non-toxic dosage of the chemical.
“The amount of fluoride you’ll get from your drinking water will be about the same you’d get from a cup of tea, because tea is of a genus that concentrates fluoride in its leaves,” Prof Rix said.
“The tea is a natural concentrator of fluoride for reasons that we’re not sure of, but it is concentrated in a non-toxic form.
“When we brew our tea, we get around 0.2-1.0 parts per million (ppm) fluoride in a cup.”
Prof Rix suggested drinking tea was one reason why Asian people had teeth in good condition.
“They have green tea at the end of their meal and wash everything away,” he said.
“They are actually putting a new coating of fluoride on their teeth.”
Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food co-ordinator Bill Kilvert said he was aware of the fluoride content in tea leaves, which was why he only drank peppermint tea.
“I’ve got a theory on it. I believe that because most of the tea comes from India or China where there’s a lot of fluoride in the groundwater, it takes it up and it goes into the leaves,” Mr Kilvert said.