Fluoride Action Network


All cases of fluoride ingestion in children younger than 12 years old reported to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center between January 1 and December 31, 1986, were retrospectively reviewed. Eighty-seven cases were identified. Eighty-four cases involved accidental ingestion of dental fluoride products in the home (tablets, drops, rinses) in children 8 months to 6 years old. Two older children (8 and 9 years old) became symptomatic after fluoride treatment by a dentist. A 13-month-old child died after ingesting an unknown amount of sodium fluoride insecticide, the only insecticide exposure in our series. Postmortem total serum calcium value was 4.8 mg/dL (normal 8.8 to 10.3). No other patients had serious symptoms or sequelae. Twenty-six (30%) of 87 became symptomatic, with gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain) in 25 patients and drowsiness in 1. Only 3 patients became symptomatic later than 1 hour after ingestion. Analysis of data from 70 cases with sufficient information revealed that as the amount of fluoride ingested increased, the percentage of patients with symptoms increased. Not including the fatal case, 6 patients had serum calcium levels measured, and all were normal. Children who ingested up to 8.4 mg/kg of elemental fluoride in dental products had mild and self-limited symptoms, mostly gastrointestinal.