High fluoride in tea linked to bone problems

A new study reveals that heavy tea drinkers run the risk of bone problems due to the high content of fluoride.

The research reveals that the fluoride concentration in black tea is much more than previously thought.

The study, conducted on four advanced skeletal fluorosis patients, suggests that the fluoride in their tea could have been responsible for the condition.

Suspicion that tea may be to blame was raised by the fact that the common link between the patients was their very high tea consumption. Each person drank 1 to 2 gallons (3.8 to 7.6 litres) of tea daily over the past 10 to 30 years.

Previous studies have estimated that the fluoride content of black tea stood at between 1 and 5 milligrams per litre but Dr Gary Whitford and colleagues, at the Medical College of Georgia in the US, decided to investigate further because of the anecdotal evidence of the common tea link between the skeletal fluorosis patients.

Their research – the findings of which were presented this week at the 2010 International Association of Dental Research Conference in Barcelona – suggest there could be much more fluoride in tea than previously thought.

Results of their investigation indicate that there could be as much as 9 milligrams of fluoride in a litre of tea.

Commenting on the results, Dr Whitford was careful to point out that the results should not be a cause for concern for moderate or even relatively heavy tea drinkers and
recent research reveals the positive health benefits of constituents like polyphenols.

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