Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Colombia consumes up to six times more fluor than the suggested levels

Although mandated by law (Decree 547 of 1996), salt in Colombia must have iodine and fluor. High fluor consumption could produce dental and skeletal fluorosis.

Bogotá D. C., 13 de noviembre de 2015Agencia de Noticias UN-

In Colombia the law requires salt to have iodine and fluor. Photos: Catalina Torres

UNal José Celestino Mutis Lecture.

Edgar Delgado, Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Dentistry Materials Application Group.

Fluor is highly toxic and cumulative.

Álvaro Wills, Professor of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics.

Fluor is not only present in salt but also in water, food sources and pesticides.

Fluor is highly toxic and cumulative says Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Department of Chemistry and Director of the Dentistry Materials Application Group Professor Édgar Delgado, who warns that dental fluorosis is produced due to chronical intake of this chemical element and has muscular-skeletal manifestations.

In 1926, Frederick Sumner McKay in Colorado Springs discovered that fluor avoided cavities and this was accepted in every country and today due to these measures, 40% of the people in 25 countries have slight fluorosis.

There is clear evidence in India and China that skeletal fluorosis and greater risk of bone fractures is produced by a total fluor intake of 14 milligrams a day (mg/day); research also suggests that bone risk increase also occurs with levels greater than 6 mg/day. India has 60 million people with this issue and 6 million with osteoporosis and 600,000 with neurological issues.

According to Article 4 of Decree 547 of 1996, salt for human consumption should have iodine in form of iodide in 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm) and fluor as fluoride in 180 to 220 ppm. On the other hand the World Health Organization (WHO) only allows a maximum concentration of 0.7 ppm. According to figures of the Colombian Ministry of Health average salt consumption in Colombia is 13 grams which multiplied by 200 ppm, results in a daily salt intake between 2.4 to 2.6 ppm of fluor a day.

According to Delgado, frequently children have white blemishes on their teeth which could mean mild to moderate fluorosis. “We do not know all the effects of fluor, it is true it prevents cavities but it freezes not cures them. Furthermore apparently it has negative effects on the intelligence quotient and on bone quality in animals and humans,” he added.

Fluor is also found naturally in water (in some areas more than others) in Teflon® kitchen utensils, pesticides, dental products (toothpaste,  mouthwash resins, varnishes, gels), food and beverages with salt content such as water, soft drinks, juices, sport drinks, potatoes, baby food, and tea.

This element says Delgado, has a romance with apatite, the main component of bones (68% of bone weight is apatite) and as years pass, the amount of ingested fluor accumulates in the hard tissues, enamel and bones. There is 80% more fluor in bones than in teeth.

Álvaro Wills, Professor of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics who has carried out research on the topic, says interactions fluor has with the body are varied, as it is the most reactive element of all.

He claims fluor excess does not only has effect on dental fluorosis but also secondary effects on the endocrine system as well as in the kidneys and cognitive functions. Furthermore fluor can pass the placenta and accumulate in the brain.

According to his report, the Colombian cities with fluor consumption levels at the suggested 0.7 mg are around 98 municipalities, specifically cities such as Ibagué, Mitú, Pasto, Pereira, San Andrés and Tunja; other 40 cities have consumptions greater than the above including capital cities such as Cali, Puerto Inírida, Neiva and the Provinces of Boyacá, Casanare, Cesar, Guainía, Huila, Nariño, Santander and Valle del Cauca.

In these areas the main unbalance is linked to greater intake of salt or water due to the climatic conditions, daily activities and naturally fluorated water.

According to Wills, authorities need to see if the best way to include fluor for Colombian consumers is through salt. The food industry should not include fluor and the areas with natural water fluor should not have salt and fluor, as fluor is not a nutrient or is metabolized.

(Por: Fin/NADC/MLA/CA/AV
)
N.° 676

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