2003). Aluminofluoride complexes have been reported to increase the concentrations of second messenger molecules (e.g., free cytosolic Ca2+, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, and cyclic AMP) for many bodily systems (Sternweis and Gilman 1982; Strunecka et al. 2002; Li 2003). The increased toxicity of beryllium in the presence of fluoride and vice versa was noted as early as 1949 (Stokinger et al. 1949). For further discussion of aluminofluorides, see Chapters 5 and 7.

Further research should include characterization of both the exposure conditions and the physiological conditions (for fluoride and for aluminum or beryllium) under which aluminofluoride and beryllofluoride complexes can be expected to occur in humans as well as the biological effects that could result.


Most fluoride in drinking water is added in the form of fluosilicic acid (fluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6) or the sodium salt (sodium fluosilicate, Na2SiF6), collectively referred to as fluorosilicates (CDC 1993). Of approximately 10,000 fluoridated water systems included in the CDC’s 1992 fluoridation census, 75% of them (accounting for 90% of the people served) used fluorosilicates. This widespread use of silicofluorides has raised concerns on at least two levels. First, some authors have reported an association between the use of silicofluorides in community water and elevated blood concentrations of lead in children (Masters and Coplan 1999; Masters et al. 2000); this association is attributed to increased uptake of lead (from whatever source) due to incompletely dissociated silicofluorides remaining in the drinking water (Masters and Coplan 1999; Masters et al. 2000) or to increased leaching of lead into drinking water in systems that use chloramines (instead of chlorine as a disinfectant) and silicofluorides (Allegood 2005; Clabby 2005; Maas et al. 2005).12,13 Macek et al. (2006) have also compared blood lead concentrations in children by method of water fluoridation; they stated that their analysis did not support an association between blood lead concentrations and silicofluorides, but also could not refute it,


In common practice, chloramines are produced with an excess of ammonia, which appears to react with silicofluorides to produce an ammonium-fluorosilicate intermediate which facilitates lead dissolution from plumbing components (Maas et al. 2005).


Another possible explanation for increased blood lead concentrations which has not been examined is the effect of fluoride intake on calcium metabolism; a review by Goyer (1995) indicates that higher blood and tissue concentrations of lead occur when the diet is low in calcium. Increased fluoride exposure appears to increase the dietary requirement for calcium (see Chapter 8); in addition, the substitution of tap-water based beverages (e.g., soft drinks or reconstituted juices) for dairy products would result in both increased fluoride intake and decreased calcium intake.

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