Fluoride in the water supply actually increases the risk of hip fracture among the elderly, a seven year study among the over 65s of Utah has discovered.
While fluoridized water is supposed to help treat osteoporosis, the survey confirms suspicions that it may in fact weaken bones. Researchers had earlier noted increased hip fracture rates among women who were treated with supplemental fluoride.
Fluoride apparently causes new bone formation of an inferior quality, especially around the femoral neck (the hip). While its compressive strength increases, the bone's tensile strength diminishes.
The study, carried out by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah, wanted to discover if people exposed to much lower quantities of fluoride through their tap water would be similarly affected. The water supply in the area is fluoridized at 1 ppm.
They were tested against two communities with no fluoridization of their water.
The team concluded that fluoride does increase the risk of hip fracture. They point out that, according to other tests, the numbers of hip fractures actually increase in areas where there are higher levels of fluoride in the water.