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Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Jan;114(1):130-4.

Blood lead concentrations in children and method of water fluoridation in the United States, 1988-1994.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion and Policy, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, Dental School, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1586, USA.


Some have hypothesized that community water containing sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluosilicic acid may increase blood lead (PbB) concentrations in children by leaching of lead from water conduits and by increasing absorption of lead from water. Our analysis aimed to evaluate the relation between water fluoridation method and PbB concentrations in children. We used PbB concentration data (n=9,477) from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994) for children 1-16 years of age, merged with water fluoridation data from the 1992 Fluoridation Census. The main outcome measure was geometric mean PbB concentration, and covariates included age, sex, race/ethnicity, poverty status, urbanicity, and length of time living in residence. Geometric mean PbB concentrations for each water fluoridation method were 2.40 microg/dL (sodium silicofluoride), 2.34 microg/dL (hydrofluosilicic acid), 1.78 microg/dL (sodium fluoride), 2.24 microg/dL (natural fluoride and no fluoride), and 2.14 microg/dL (unknown/mixed status). In multiple linear and logistic regression, there was a statistical interaction between water fluoridation method and year in which dwelling was built. Controlling for covariates, water fluoridation method was significant only in the models that included dwellings built before 1946 and dwellings of unknown age. Across stratum-specific models for dwellings of known age, neither hydrofluosilicic acid nor sodium silicofluoride were associated with higher geometric mean PbB concentrations or prevalence values. Given these findings, our analyses, though not definitive, do not support concerns that silicofluorides in community water systems cause higher PbB concentrations in children. Current evidence does not provide a basis for changing water fluoridation practices, which have a clear public health benefit.

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