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Sodium Fluoride for Beginners

August 14, 2013

FluoridationFluoride Toxity

Fluoride-containing compounds are so diverse that it is not possible to generalize on their toxicity, which depends on their reactivity and structure, and in the case of salts, their solubility and ability to release fluoride ions.

Soluble fluoride salts, of which sodium fluoride is the most common, are mildly toxic but have resulted in both accidental and suicidal deaths from acute poisoning.

While the minimum fatal dose in humans is not known, the lethal dose for most adult humans is estimated at 5 to 10 g. However, a case of a fatal poisoning of an adult with 4 grams of sodium fluoride is documented, while a dose of 120 g sodium fluoride has been survived. A toxic dose that may lead to adverse health effects is estimated at 3 to 5 mg/kg of elemental fluoride.

The mechanism of toxicity involves the combination of the fluoride anion with the calcium ions in the blood to form insoluble calcium fluoride, resulting in hypocalcemia. Calcium is indispensable for the function of the nervous system, and the condition can be fatal.

Hydrogen fluoride is more dangerous than fluoride salts, because it is corrosive and volatile, and can result in fatal exposure through inhalation or upon contact with the skin.

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From → Health, Poisoning

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