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Research | Children’s Health Substance Flow Analysis: A Case Study of Fluoride Exposure through Food and Beverages in Young Children Living in Ethiopia

By Marian Kjellevold Malde, Ruth Scheidegger, Kåre Julshamn and Hans-peter Bader


Con t e x t: Dental and skeletal fluorosis is endemic in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Children are especially vulnerable to excessive fluoride intake because their permanent teeth are still being formed. Strategies to reduce the total fluoride intake by children are thus warranted. Case presentation: By combining the results of field studies in Ethiopia, the relevant pathways for fluoride intake have been identified in 28 children 2–5 years of age living in two villages on the Wonji Shoa Sugar Estate in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. The focus of the present study was to simulate the fluoride intake of the children using the methods of material flow analysis (MFA) and substance flow analysis. Discussion: With a model based on MFA, we quantified the potential reduction in total fluoride intake given different scenarios—for example, by reducing the fluoride intake from drinking water and cooking water. The results show clearly that only by removing fluoride completely from both drinking and cooking water does the probability of remaining below the daily tolerable upper intake level exceed 50%. Both prepared food and food ingredients must be taken into consideration when assessing the total fluoride intake by children living in high-fluoride areas. Relevance: This knowledge will help health personnel, the government, and the food authorities to give scientifically based advice on strategies for reducing the total fluoride intake by children living in high-fluoride areas in the Ethiopian Rift Valley

Topics: Shoa Sugar Estate. Environ Health Perspect 119, 579–584 (2011). doi, 10.1289/ehp.1002365
Year: 2010
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