Study: Fluoridated water not linked to hip fracture risk

Chronic exposure to fluoridated water is not associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study published published by the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) in the Journal of Dental Research (October 1, 2013). Researchers studied a large cohort of Swedish residents chronically exposed to various fluoride levels and found they did not have an increased risk of hip fracture.

A team of researchers from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm investigated possible adverse health effects on bone tissue from drinking fluoridated water, hypothesizing a possible association between fluoride levels in the drinking water and the risk of hip fracture. The study population included 473,277 individuals and is believed to be one of the largest studies of its kind.

"Overall, we found no association between chronic fluoride exposure and the occurrence of hip fracture," the researchers wrote.

To analyze hip fracture risk, they utilized information about the study population from the Swedish National In-Patient Register, the Swedish Cause of Death Register, and the Register of Population and Population Changes.

The researchers dividied estimated individual drinking water fluoride exposure levels into four categories:

  • Very low: less than 0.3 mg/L
  • Low: 0.3 - 0.69 mg/L
  • Medium: 0.7 - 1.49 mg/L
  • High: 1.5 mg/L or more

They found that fluoride exposure was not associated with an increased risk of hip fractures. The risk estimates did not change in analyses restricted to only low trauma osteoporotic hip fractures. The findings suggest that chronic fluoride exposure from drinking water does not seem to have any important effects on the risk of hip fracture in the exposure range the researchers looked at.

IADR President Helen Whelton said that while the impact of fluoridated drinking water on human health needs continued investigation, it is promising to know that this cohort study didn't find a link between drinking fluoridated water and hip fractures.

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