Fluoride Action Network

Osteoarthritis Linked to Fluoride

Source: New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation | October 28th, 2002
Location: International

NEW YORK – Naturally fluoridated water is linked to knee osteoarthritis at levels lower than expected (1) and in amounts many Americans consume daily, according to a study published in “Rheumatology International.”

At high doses, fluoride, a well-known tooth and bone seeking element, undeniably damages bones and reportedly can cause arthritis(2a,b). However, this study, “Endemic fluorosis in Turkish patients: relationship with knee osteoarthritis,” correlates knee osteoarthritis to fluoride at levels, 1.9 – 3.6 milligrams per liter (mg/L), that many Americans ingest daily via food, air, water, medicines and dental products.

Fluoride’s maximum contaminant level, 4 mg/L, is set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for public water supplies, to prevent bone disease, including pain and tenderness of the bones(3). Neither a nutrient nor essential to health, fluoride gets into tap water through natural rock erosion, from fertilizer runoff, or when purposely added to reduce tooth decay.

However, researchers Savas et al., found arthritis symptoms in patients drinking water fluoride levels averaging only 2.7 mg/L.

“Unknowingly, Americans inhale or consume between 1.6 – 6.6 mg fluoride a day(4) from varying sources, as obscure as ocean mist, and as common as french fries and cola,” says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, NYSCOF. “Little do they know their fluoridated tap water and food supply could be causing their arthritic ailments,” says Beeber.

One third of American adults suffer with arthritis(5). “It’s curious that Hawaii, the least fluoridated state (9%), in 66% fluoridated U.S., also has the least arthritic adults (17.8%). It is imperative that the government study the relationship between arthritis and ingested fluoride,” says Beeber

Organized dentistry, with little toxicology training, decided that about one milligram daily fluoride is “optimal” for reducing tooth decay – a level they admit has never been scientifically determined(6). But according to UNICEF, “A single ‘optimal’ level for daily intake cannot be agreed upon because the nutritional status of individuals, which varies greatly, influences the rate at which fluoride is absorbed by the body. A diet poor in calcium for example, increases the body’s retention of fluoride.” (7)

Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disorder characterized by degeneration of joint cartilage and adjacent bone that can cause joint pain and stiffness.(8)

In this study, an endemic fluorosis group was compared to a control group. “The severity of osteoarthritis was greater in patients with endemic fluorosis than controls, both clinically and radiologically,” Savas et al. report.

Endemic fluorosis for this study was defined as:
1) Living in the endemic fluorosis region since birth
2) having mottled tooth enamel, indicating dental fluorosis
3) consuming water with fluoride levels above 1.2 mg/L
4) a urine fluoride level greater than 1.5 mg/L

The mean fluoride level in the drinking water, serum and urine was significantly higher in patients with fluorosis than in controls.