Fluoride Action Network

Skeletal Fluorosis Causes Bones to be Brittle & Prone to Fracture

Fluoride Action Network | April 2012 | By Michael Connett

It has been known since as the early as the 1930s that patients with skeletal fluorosis have bone that is more brittle and prone to fracture. More recently, however, researchers have found that fluoride can reduce bone strength before the onset of skeletal fluorosis. Included below are some of the many studies finding that fluorotic bone is brittle and weak. For a discussion of the mechanisms by which fluoride reduces bone strength, click here.

Skeletal Fluorosis & Brittle Bone:

The bones are subject to easy fracture.”
SOURCE: Blood DC, Henderson JA, Radostits OM, eds. (1979). Veterinary Medicine: A Textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Pgs and Horses. 5th Edition. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia.

“The bone was brittle and shattered easily when cut on a bandsaw.”
SOURCE: Krook L, Maylin GA. (1979). Industrial fluoride pollution. Chronic fluoride poisoning in Cornwall Island cattle. Cornell Veterinarian 69(Suppl 8): 1-70.

“fluorotic specimens had a lower tensile strength and strain but a higher compressive strength and strain than the nonfluorotic ones.”
SOURCE: Evans FG, Wood JL. (1976). Mechanical properties and density of bone in a case of severe endemic fluorosis. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica 47: 489-495.

“Lameness, pain, exostoses, emaciation, and bone fractures were symptoms associated with horses exposed to F ingestion.”
SOURCE: Lillie RJ. (1970). Air Pollutants Affecting the Performance of Domestic Animals: A Literature Review. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Agricultural Handbook No. 380. Washington D.C.

“The first sign of fluorosis in cattle (and probably also in deer) is mottling, pitting, and black discoloration of the teeth. Affected teeth are soft and show abnormal wear. Later the leg and foot bones may become deformed or fractured, resulting in lameness.”
SOURCE: Karstad L. (1967). Fluorosis in deer (Odoceileus virginianus). Bulletin of the Wildlife Disease Association 3:42-46.

“In advanced skeletal fluorosis the bones are brittle.”
SOURCE: Adams PH, Jowsey J. (1965). Sodium fluoride in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Annals of Internal Medicine 63: 1151-1155.

“In the macerated cattle specimens the bone was brittle and crumbled readily. The new bone was as fragile as chalk…”
SOURCE: Johnson LC. (1965). Histogenesis and mechanisms in the development of osteofluorosis. In: H.C.Hodge and F.A.Smith, eds : Fluorine chemistry, Vol. 4. New York, N.Y., Academic press (1965) 424-441.

“One of the most prominent features of fluorosis in cattle in England, however, was the frequency of actue severe lameness, especially in the early summer. It resembled that described by Towers (1954) who associated it with fracture of the pedal bone (3rd phalanx)….This suggests that traumatic factors played a part in producing the lameness by causing damage to bones which were relatively fragile as a result of skeletal accumulation of fluorine…”
SOURCE: Burns KN, Allcroft R. (1964). Fluorosis in Cattle. 1 – Occurrence and Effects in Industrial Areas of England and Wales 1954-57. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Animal Disease Surveys Report No 2, Part I. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.

“Increased fragility of the bones may be present, and they can be friable and crumbly.”
SOURCE: Kumar SP, Harper RA. (1963). Fluorosis in Aden. British Journal of Radiology 36: 497-502.

“During the examination of the Achintee sheep, an unusally large number of fractures were detected; these involved ribs, mandible, and pelvis.”
SOURCE: Agate JN, et al. (1949). Industrial fluorosis: A study of the hazard to man and animals near Fort William, Scotland. Medical Research Council Memorandum No. 22. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.

“High fluorine levels interfere with mineral metabolism and cause abnormal growth of bone that may be structurally weak.”
SOURCE: Huffman WT. (1949). Effects on livestock of air contamination caused by fluoride fumes. In: Air Pollution. Proceedings of the United States Technical Conference on Air Pollution. McGraw-Hill Book Co, New York. pp. 59-63.

“The bone is abnormally brittle.”
SOURCE: Lyth O. (1946). Endemic fluorosis in Kweichow, China. The Lancet 1: 233-235

“The osteomalacic condition (of fluorosis) to some extent varies with the species and age of the animal. Certain features are common, however… Common features are the reduced strength of the bones, the tendency to form exostoses, bone atrophy, and a deficient calcification.”
Roholm K. (1937). Fluoride intoxication: a clinical-hygienic study with a review of the literature and some experimental investigations. H.K. Lewis Ltd, London.