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Environ Health Perspect. 1996 Dec;104(12):1340-3.

The relationship of fluorosis and brick tea drinking in Chinese Tibetans.

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  • 1Tea and Health Research Laboratory, Hunan Medical University, Changsha, People's Republic of China.


Brick tea-drinking fluorosis is an unusual environmental problem. As a result of an investigation of tea-drinking habits, total fluoride intakes, dental fluorosis, and skeletal fluorosis, this disease has been found in the Sichuan Province of China in Tibetans with a long history of drinking brick tea. The dental fluorosis investigation of 375 Tibetan children (213 males, 162 females) and 161 Han children (86 males, 75 females), 8-15 years of age, was carried out in Daofu County, Sichuan Province. According to the standard of the Chinese Health Ministry, a skeletal fluorosis survey of 658 Tibetans (264 males, 394 females) and 41 Hans (20 males, 11 females), all over 16 years old, was performed. The total fluoride intake and fluorosis were determined from a question--calculation method in all participants. The morbidities of dental fluorosis in Tibetan and Han children are 51.2% and 11.05%, respectively, and the indexes of dental fluorosis are 1.33 and 0.17 (chi 2 = 75.7, p < 0.01) respectively. The morbidity of skeletal fluorosis is 32.83% for Tibetan children and zero for the Han children. The fluoride intakes of Tibetan children and adults were 5.49 mg/person/day and 10.43 mg/person/day, respectively, in this area. Of total everyday fluoride intake, 94.2% by children and 94.4% by adults was from brick tea and zanba (r = 0.99).

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