Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
Fluoride From Tea Can Cause Bone and Tooth Damage
A Detroit woman’s 17-year-long extreme tea overdose caused her to lose all her teeth and experience debilitating bone pain, according to a case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. She drank pitcher of tea made from over 100 tea bags every day for 17 years. The culprit: Fluoride.
Besides the artificial fluoride added to Detroit’s public water supply, which concentrates upon boiling, tea has naturally high levels of fluoride. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates fluoride in water as a contaminant because too much fluoride causes dental fluorosis (white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth) and skeletal fluorosis, characterized by brittle bones, pain and stiffness.
US physicians are rarely trained to diagnose skeletal fluorosis. Many say it just doesn’t exist. Luckily for this woman that Dr. S. D. Rao, the author of this case study, came from an area in India where fluoride levels in the water were naturally extremely high and who is familiar with fluoride poisoning. Fluoride endemic areas in India have residents who are bent over and crippled and seriously ill from drinking highly fluoridated water.
The Detroit woman went to see Dr. Rao, a bone and endocrinology specialist at the Henry Ford Hospital, after experiencing bone pain for five years in her lower back, arms, legs, and hips. In addition, all her teeth had been extracted because they became so brittle.
X-rays showed calcifications throughout the patient's arm ligaments and abnormally dense bones along her spine. The doctors who referred the patient to Rao initially suspected that she had cancer, but since Rao had seen skeletal fluorosis cases in his native India, "I was able to recognize it immediately," according to a report by Livescience.
Fluoride levels in her blood turned out to be four times higher than a normal concentration- a clear confirmation of skeletal fluorosis.
The EPA’s maximum contaminant level for fluoride is only 4 mg per liter or 4 parts per million (ppm). The patient admitted that every day for the past 17 years, she had been drinking a pitcher of tea made from 100 to 150 tea bags- more than 20 mg of fluoride per day, a clear overdose.
Extra fluoride is normally filtered out of the body by the kidneys and excreted, but fluoride crystal deposits can form on bones if a person consumes large amounts of it over time or if they have kidney disease.
The fluoride deposits can gradually change bone structure, hardening ligaments and impairing movement.
Skeletal fluorosis caused by tea overdose is not unprecedented in the United States.
In 2011, Emory University researchers published a case study of a 48-year-old Georgia woman who developed the bone disease after drinking one to two gallons of orange pekoe tea every day for 30 years. In 2005, researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis diagnosed it in a 52-year-old woman who drank one to two gallons of double-strength instant tea daily since she was 12 years old.
Case Reports by Cao and Yi in the Journal of Fluorine Chemistry (February 2008) “Tea and fluorosis:”
--A 57-year-old Englishman’s misdiagnosed Paget’s disease (weakened bones) with osteoarthritis was finally correctly diagnosed as skeletal fluorosis caused by his long-term heavy tea-drinking habit.
--A Pakistani woman’s dental fluorosis resulted solely from tea which she consumed from age two.
--A 36-year-old Chinese woman’s ten-years of joint pain disappeared when she stopped drinking tea.
--French doctors identified 5 patients who developed bone softening (osteomalacia) from drinking tea.
-- An American woman's fluoride-caused debilitating joint pains disappeared when her two-gallon-a-day iced-tea habit stopped.
A 52-year-old American man's arthritic- like joint pain and immobility went away after he stopped brushing his teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. (Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Jan 2007)
Roos, et al. documents a woman whose painful swollen fingers healed after she ceased eating fluoridated toothpaste. ( Presse Med. Nov 2005)
Eichmiller, et al. report a patient's leg and joint pains from a dentist- prescribed high-concentration fluoride product. (Journal of the American Dental Association, Jan 2005)
An abstract presented at the 2013 International Association of Dental Research annual convention shows that fluoride levels in tea vary with water used and steeping time. Black tea can contain up to 11 parts per million fluoride.
Fluoride is in virtually all foods and beverages, absorbed from dental products and inhaled in air pollution and showers.
Probably many Americans are experiencing early skeletal fluorosis symptoms which US doctors mistakenly diagnose as arthritis or some other disease or not at all.