Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potentially Harmful Fluoride Levels Found In Some Instant Teas

Date:
February 9, 2005
Source:
Washington University School Of Medicine
Summary:
Instant tea, one of the most popular drinks in the United States, may be a source of harmful levels of fluoride, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. The researchers found that some regular strength preparations contain as much as 6.5 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride, well over the 4 ppm maximum allowed in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency and 2.4 ppm permitted in bottled water and beverages by the Food and Drug Administration.

Instant tea, one of the most popular drinks in the United States, may be a source of harmful levels of fluoride, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. The researchers found that some regular strength preparations contain as much as 6.5 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride, well over the 4 ppm maximum allowed in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency and 2.4 ppm permitted in bottled water and beverages by the Food and Drug Administration.

The discovery stemmed from the diagnostic investigation of a middle-aged woman suffering from spine pain attributed to hyper-dense bones. Testing for the cause of her symptoms revealed the patient had high levels of fluoride in her urine. She then disclosed a high consumption of iced tea—claiming to drink one to two gallons of double-strength instant tea throughout the day—which led the researchers to test for fluoride content in several brands of instant tea available on grocery store shelves.

Each of the teas was tested as a regular-strength preparation in fluoride-free water, and each contained fluoride, with amounts ranging from 1.0 to 6.5 parts per million. The study is reported in the January issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

"The tea plant is known to accumulate fluoride from the soil and water. Our study points to the need for further investigation of the fluoride content of teas," says Michael Whyte, M.D., professor of medicine, pediatrics and genetics. "We don't know how much variation there is from brand to brand and year to year."

In many communities in the United States, fluoride is added to drinking water to help prevent tooth decay. However, the Public Health Service indicates that the fluoride concentration should not exceed 1.2 ppm.

Physicians have been aware that ingestion of high levels of fluoride cause bone-forming cells to lay down extra skeletal tissue, increasing bone density but also bone brittleness. The resulting disease, called skeletal fluorosis, can manifest in bone pain, calcification of ligaments, bone spurs, fused vertebrae and difficulty in moving joints.

"When fluoride gets into your bones, it stays there for years, and there is no established treatment for skeletal fluorosis," Whyte says. "No one knows if you can fully recover from it."

Americans are exposed to fluoride not only through fluoridated water but increasingly through fluoridated toothpastes and other dental preparations. Pesticides, Teflonฎ-coated cookware, chewing tobacco, some wines and certain sparkling mineral waters are more unusual sources of excess exposure. Until now, instant tea had not been recognized as a significant source of fluoride.

According to Whyte, the findings could aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have achiness in their bones. In the future, doctors should ask such patients about their tea consumption.

Whyte MP, Essmyer KE, Gannon FH, Reinus WR. Skeletal fluorosis and instant tea. American Journal of Medicine 2005 Jan;118(1):78-82.

Funding from the Clark and Mildred Cox Inherited Metabolic Bone Disease Research Fund supported this research.

Washington University School of Medicine's full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University School Of Medicine. "Potentially Harmful Fluoride Levels Found In Some Instant Teas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205124905.htm>.
Washington University School Of Medicine. (2005, February 9). Potentially Harmful Fluoride Levels Found In Some Instant Teas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205124905.htm
Washington University School Of Medicine. "Potentially Harmful Fluoride Levels Found In Some Instant Teas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205124905.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins