• Industrial processes increase fluoride levels and transport in the environment.
  • Various fluoride biological pathways increase the risk of toxicity exposure.
  • Steering actors must be recognized to attain perpetual sustainable development.
  • Circular economy, as a tool to sustainable development, must have same objectives.


Fluorine is the most reactive elements among the halogen group and commonly and ubiquitously occurs as fluoride in nature. The industrial processes produce fluoride by-products causing the increase of unwanted environmental levels and consequently posing risk on human and environmental health worldwide. This review gives a fundamental understanding of fluoride networks in the industrial processes, in the geological and hydrological transport, and in the biological sphere. Numerous biological pathways of fluoride also increase the risk of exposure. Literature shows that various environmental levels of fluoride due to its chemical characteristics cause bioaccumulation resulting in health deterioration among organisms. These problems are aggravated by emitted fluoride in the air and wastewater streams. Moreover, the current waste disposal dependent on incineration and landfilling superpose to the problem. In our analysis, the fluoride material flow model still follows a linear economy and reuse economy to some extent. This flow model spoils resources with high economic potential and worsens environmental problems. Thus, we intend a shift from the conventional linear economy to a circular economy with the revival of three-dimensional objectives of sustainable development. Linkages between key dimensions of the circular economy to stimulate momentum for perpetual sustainable development are proposed to gain economic, environmental and social benefits.

*Abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653519318867