Fluoride Action Network


Skeletal fluorosis (SF) is endemic in many countries and millions of people are affected worldwide, whereas in the United States SF is rare with occasional descriptions of unique cases. We report a 28-year-old American man who was healthy until two years earlier when he gradually experienced difficulty walking and an abnormal gait, left hip pain, loss of mobility in his right wrist and forearm, and progressive deformities including enlargement of the digits of both hands. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of his lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip, and the one-third forearm revealed bone mineral density (BMD) Z-scores of +6.2, +4.8, +3.0, and -0.2, respectively. Serum, urine, and bone fluoride levels were all elevated and ultimately explained by chronic sniffing abuse of a computer cleaner containing 1,1-difluoroethane. Our findings reflect SF due to the unusual cause of inhalation abuse of difluoroethane. Because this practice seems widespread, particularly in the young, there may be many more such cases. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.