Fluoride Action Network


In preventive medicine and occupational health, decision-makers face uncertainty, divergent opinions, and varying needs. In the Swiss aluminum industry, screening for industrial fluorosis illustrates how decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis can provide rational and explicit models of decision-making in such contexts. Data on fluoride-exposed potroom workers are used to compare the cost-effectiveness of two strategies: mass screening of fluorosis versus individual detection of the disease on the basis of the worker’s symptoms. A decision-analysis and a sensitivity analysis are performed to assess the impact of the screening program for different levels of expected prevalence of the disease. The optimal decision, in economic terms, is the one that minimizes the pension and screening-related costs and maximizes the number of years of full working capacity. Swiss data suggest that a diagnosis of clinical fluorosis is unlikely before 10 years of exposure to fluoride. Between 10 and 30 years of exposure to fluoride, mass screening may be more cost-effective than individual detection of the disease, even when the expected prevalence of the disease in a given industrial setting is less than 10%.