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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Feb 26;13(3). pii: E259. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13030259.

Risk Assessment of Fluoride Intake from Tea in the Republic of Ireland and its Implications for Public Health and Water Fluoridation.

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EnviroManagement Services, 11 Riverview, Dohertys Rd, Bandon, Co. Cork P72 YF10, Ireland.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, KEH M2225, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104-3189, USA.
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, 124 Edward Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1G6, Canada.
Bay of Plenty Environmental Health, 1416A Cameron Road, Tauranga 3012, New Zealand.


The Republic of Ireland (RoI) is the only European Country with a mandatory national legislation requiring artificial fluoridation of drinking water and has the highest per capita consumption of black tea in the world. Tea is a hyperaccumulator of fluoride and chronic fluoride intake is associated with multiple negative health outcomes. In this study, fifty four brands of the commercially available black tea bag products were purchased and the fluoride level in tea infusions tested by an ion-selective electrode method. The fluoride content in all brands tested ranged from 1.6 to 6.1 mg/L, with a mean value of 3.3 mg/L. According to our risk assessment it is evident that the general population in the RoI is at a high risk of chronic fluoride exposure and associated adverse health effects based on established reference values. We conclude that the culture of habitual tea drinking in the RoI indicates that the total cumulative dietary fluoride intake in the general population could readily exceed the levels known to cause chronic fluoride intoxication. Evidence suggests that excessive fluoride intake may be contributing to a wide range of adverse health effects. Therefore from a public health perspective, it would seem prudent and sensible that risk reduction measures be implemented to reduce the total body burden of fluoride in the population.


Public Health Safety; chronic pain; endocrine disorders; fluoride; food safety; neurotoxicity; risk assessment; skeletal fluorosis; tea; water fluoridation

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