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Author Topic: Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?  (Read 6686 times)

Matthew Burnett

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« on: 28/09/2009 08:30:05 »
Matthew Burnett  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Dr. Chris Smith,
 
I have here just one quick question which has managed to intrigue me whilst studying the halogens, regarding the ion fluoride; why are fluoride ions so dangerous when consumed by humans; what happens and what are the consequences?
 
I'm hope you'll be able to answer this!
Thank you very much,
Matthew.

What do you think?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #1 on: 28/09/2009 09:35:10 »
Calcium fluoride is rather insoluble, unlike the other calcium halides.
If the fluoride ion gets into the body it precipitates calcium fluoride. Since the body needs calcium for muscle action- including the muscles of the heart and lungs- this loss of calcim is a problem.

There's more about it here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoride_poisoning
 

Offline chris

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #2 on: 28/09/2009 20:29:19 »
Ah, that'll be why spilling hydrofluoric acid on skin is such bad news then?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #3 on: 28/09/2009 20:51:35 »
HF is another matter. It's a fairly weak acid but it has a small molecule that can slip easilly through the skin and, having done so it causes problems- it's not a very strong acid, but it's strong enough to do damage. HF also dissolves proteins.
Add to that the damage done by the fluoride ion (about which (as opposed to HF) the original question was asked) and you can see why it's nasty.
 

Offline nyscof

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #4 on: 30/09/2009 17:26:30 »
The fluoride ion has an affinity for calcium and when fluoride gets into the blood stream, it gets into the bones, teeth and pineal gland replacing elements that should remain in the bones, teeth and pineal gland - wreaking its damage.

Fluoride also displaces iodine and damages the thyroid gland's functioning.

Some people are allergic to or intolerant of fluoride - which has a whole other mode of action.

Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride: newbielink:http://www.FluorideAction.Net/health [nonactive]

 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #5 on: 30/09/2009 18:27:07 »
I would be intrigued to see a real case of allergy to fluoride- it's very small and the immune system (which is responsible for allergies) usually only sees quite big molecules.
 

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Why are fluoride ions so dangerous for humans?
« Reply #5 on: 30/09/2009 18:27:07 »

 

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