Fluoride Action Network


Skeletal fluorosis is a metabolic bone disease caused by accumulation of fluoride and is generally associated with chronic exposure to fluoride-contaminated groundwater, a phenomenon endemic to developing countries. Whereas elevated water fluoride concentrations do not constitute a public health issue in the United States, emergence of skeletal fluorosis as a sequela of chronic recreational exposures has been described. In this case report, our 33-year-old male patient with a history of major depressive disorder and substance abuse was hospitalized for hyperkalemia and acute kidney injury discovered on routine bloodwork due to concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and antihypertensive use. Upon hospital admission, he was found to be anemic with a significantly elevated alkaline phosphatase. Given a history of low back pain in the setting of these laboratory abnormalities, lower spine and pelvic imaging revealed diffusely increased bone density and sclerosis. Hematologic evaluation ensued to include a peripheral smear and bone marrow biopsy. Given the patient’s history of computer cleaner inhalant abuse, serum and urinary fluoride levels were obtained. Serum fluoride returned within normal limits though urinary fluoride was increased. Bone marrow histopathology revealed prominent diffuse sclerosis which in conjunction with urinary fluoride levels and computer cleaner inhalant abuse history supported the diagnosis of skeletal fluorosis. Skeletal fluorosis in the United States is rare and presents with non-specific findings requiring a high index of suspicion based on a detailed patient history for expedient diagnosis.



… However, in recent years in the United States skeletal fluorosis has been described as a result of chronic recreational substance abuse with volatile anesthetics, fluoride-containing aerosolized computer cleaner, and surreptitious toothpaste ingestion [2].


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