Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride in pet food: The link to osteosarcoma

Source: Tribune Star (Indiana) | June 13th, 2009 | By Niki Laviolette
Industry type: Miscellaneous

TERRE HAUTE — The most common type of bone cancer in dogs, cats and humans is osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is more common in the larger breeds of dogs such as Rottweilers, greyhounds, golden retrievers, etc. Eighty-five percent of all major bone tumors in dogs and 70 percent in cats are osteosarcoma. Approximately 5 percent of all primary bone tumors in children are osteosarcoma-related.

A number of studies suggest a possible link between osteosarcoma and the exposure to fluoride. According to the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), they “conclude that fluoridation of public water supplies should stop because of risks that outweigh the possible benefits, especially for infants and young children who consume more water than adults, relative to their size.” The Environmental Working Group has been concerned with healthy ingredients and the safety of pet food. EWG pet food testing has revealed high levels of fluoride in various major brand pet foods. Veterinarians are reporting a rise in cancer rates found in dogs and many are wondering if diet is a contributing factor.

George Glasser, press officer/water quality adviser, National Pure Water Association, reports, “A low-fluoride commercial dog food contains 40-60 parts per million of fluoride. A high-fluoride dog food can contain up to 460 parts per million of fluoride.” A study at the University of Montana indicated the average level of fluoride in leading pet foods to be 11 to 193 ppm, with canned food having the highest amount. The Montana researchers discovered that fluoride accumulates in pets’ bones. 84 to 1,535 milligrams of fluoride was found in the leg bones of dogs. 74 to 1,190 milligrams was found in cat bones, and it increased with age. A number of lower-grade dog foods may contain up to 2,000 ppm of fluoride. The government daily limit said to be safe for children over 3 years of age is 2.5 milligrams. Tolerance levels have been identified for domesticated animals, with the lowest values for dairy cattle at 30 mg/kg feed or 2.5 mg/liter drinking water.

Numerous research has been done on sheep, pigs, goats, cattle and chickens on adverse health effects from fluoride, with little information relating to cats and dogs. “Consequently, it is safe to assume that many of dogs and cats who appear to be suffering with arthritis, dysplasia, spinal deformities, etc., may have actually developed skeletal fluorosis.” Even though a particular breed may be genetically predisposed to such health problems, fluoride in pet food could prematurely trigger the disease.

“The primary source of the fluoride in pet foods is from the added mineral supplements: defluorinated phosphate rock, raw soft phosphate rock, mono and tricalcium phosphate. The less expensive the dog food, probably the higher the fluoride levels because they use raw phosphate.

Raw phosphate, mainly because of its fluoride content (3 to 4 percent), is the most physically damaging animal mineral supplement because it is not processed and is the least-expensive. These facts have been known since the 1920s in early animal nutritional research of fluorine in animal nutrition.

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NOTE: In a June 2, 2009, post at Dog Care Frenzy: “Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer. Most malignant bone cancers are osteosarcomas. They are more common in large breeds of dogs, especially male dogs.”