Fluoride Action Network

Abstract

Fluorine is unique chemical element which occurs naturally, but is not an essential nutrient for
plants. Fluoride toxicity can arise due to excessive fluoride intake from a variety of natural or
manmade sources. Fluoride is phytotoxic to most plants. Plants which are sensitive for fluorine
exposure even low concentrations of fluorine can cause leave damage and a decline in
growth. All vegetation contains some fluoride absorbed from soil and water. The highest levels
of F in field-grown vegetables are found up to 40 mg kg-1 fresh weight although fluoride is
relatively immobile and is not easily leached in soil because most of the fluoride was not
readily soluble or exchangeable. Also, high concentrations of fluoride primarily associated with
the soil colloid or clay fraction can increase fluoride levels in soil solution, increasing uptake via
the plant root. In soils more than 90 percent of the natural fluoride ranging from 20 to 1,000 ?g
g-1 is insoluble, or tightly bound to soil particles. The excess accumulation of fluorides in
vegetation leads to visible leaf injury, damage to fruits, changes in the yield. The amount of
fluoride taken up by plants depending on the type of plant, the nature of the soil, and the
amount and form of fluoride in the soil should be controlled. Conclusively, fluoride is possible
and long-term pollution effects on plant growth through accumulation of the fluoride retained in
the soil.

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