Incidental oral ingestion is considered to be an important exposure route for humans to soil contaminants, such as fluoride (F). For 25 soil samples containing 4000 mg F/kg from aluminium smelting site in southwestern China, this study investigated F bioaccessibility in the human gastrointestinal tract in vitro. Fluoride bioaccessibility (2.4-48.8%) in the gastric phase was primarily caused by the dissolution of F-Ca and F-Al compounds (assigned to residual phase), identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and sequential extraction. Following modification to the small intestinal phase, the variation in F bioaccessibility (2.5-38.8%) should be the result of concurrent processes, including the formation of F complexes and competitive adsorption, and inversely the precipitation of fluorite and surface adsorption of formed F-Al complexes. The colon incubation with human gut microbiota yielded a 1.3-fold increase in F bioaccessibility (3.9-45.7%), probably due to the dissolution of F bound to Fe (hydr)oxides. Bioaccessibility adjustment can reduce hazard quotient of fluoride, and non-carcinogenic risk for children should be noted that soil F intake contributed 21.7% on average, up to 76.6% of oral reference dose. This will result in better understanding of human health risk assessment associated with F exposures.
*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389421008633?via%3Dihub