Fluoride (F) and aluminum (Al), which are known to form a strong complex, are both present in finished drinking water. The effect of F and Al on one another’s tissue accumulation was determined using adult male New Zealand white rabbits. Thirty-six rabbits (three per group) were given Purina Rabbit Chow and drinking water containing no F or Al, F alone (1, 4, or 50 ppm F as NaF), Al alone, (100 or 500 ppm Al as AICI3), or a combination of F and Al, ad libitum for 10 wk. None of these treatments altered food intake or weight gain in these rabbits. Fiowever, rabbits treated with 1 ppm F and 500 ppm Al consumed significantly less water than control rabbits. The F accumulation in plasma, urine, incisors, and tibia was increased as the F addition to the drinking water increased within groups receiving a single concentration of Al. In contrast, F accumulation in plasma, urine, incisors, and tibia decreased as the Al concentration increased within groups receiving a single F concentration, indicative of decreased intestinal absorption. Importantly, Al levels in tibia were significantly increased by the addition of F to the drinking water, even in animals receiving no Al in their drinking water. The effect of F on Al accumulation in bone was confirmed by our evaluating Al levels in sterna harvested from rats treated with 0 or 79 ppm F (as NaF in the drinking water) in a study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (Bucher et al., 1991). Therefore, some of the osteotoxicity seemingly associated with high F levels in bone may be due to the accumulation of Al or an Al-F complex.
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