Fluoride Action Network


Four groups of weanling rats were fed for 2 weeks on a diet sufficient or insufficient in calcium and/or phosphorus. Each group was divided into four subgroups which were offered distilled water supplemented with 0, 50, 75, or 150 ppm fluoride. High levels of fluoride in drinking water inhibited weight gain. This inhibition was less in rats deficient in phosphorus than when normal-phosphorus diets were offered. At a low level, fluoride was without any effect on bone ash, thickness of femoral cortical bone, and mechanical strength, as measured by maximal load, ultimate stress to breaking, and limit of elasticity. Modulus of elasticity was decreased. At higher levels fluoride tended to decrease most of these parameters, except in rats deprived of both calcium and phosphorus. The effect of fluoride was modified by lack of dietary calcium and/or phosphorus and appeared to be weaker in rats deficient in these nutrients. Lack of dietary calcium and/or phosphorus decreased bone strength more than did fluoride content of water and of bone mineral. Concentration of bone ash and thickness of femoral cortical bone were closely correlated with parameters of mechanical strength.