AIR QUALITY MONOGRAPHS Monograph #69-4 Fluorosis of Livestock
|Publication Date:||1 February 1969|
Fluorine is a very reactive, nonmetallic, gaseous element universally present in varying amounts in soils, water, atmosphere, vegetation, and animal tissues. Because of its extreme chemical reactivity, it is found in nature in a combined (fluoride*) form.
Livestock normally ingest variable low-level amounts of fluoride. No adverse effects are known to accompany such low level fluoride ingestion. Fluorine accumulates in the body, predominantly in mineralizing tissue, as long as the animal continues to ingest a constant or increasing amount of fluorine. If, however, amounts above the tolerance level (which varies with interacting factors) are ingested over long periods of time, fluorine toxicosis or fluorosis may result. The major problem with fluorine as related to livestock has been chronic toxicosis.
Fluorides are present in the effluent, dust or waste products of some mining, smelting, refining or processing, and manufacturing operations. In addition, certain propellant fuels used in some aerospace studies release fluorides into the atmosphere. Thus with the expansion of certain types of industrialization into agricultural areas, chronic fluorosis has become an important toxicologic problem in some areas of the United States and many other parts of the world.
Evidence indicates that fluorosis now can be correctly diagnosed and evaluated by qualified individuals. Much of the misunderstanding and many of the problems associated with fluorine and fluorosis in the past can be evaluated, controlled and prevented. Accurate diagnosis of the disease and proper differentiation between its resultant economic losses and its cosmetic and non-economic effects, however, can be accomplished only be persons thoroughly familiar with the symptoms and lesions associated with fluorosis. The diagnostician must be able to differentiate the symptoms ad lesions of this disease from similar ones characterizing other diseases.
Excessive atmospheric contamination by fluoride is relatively easy to recognize, however, at times it may be difficult to pinpoint the specific source or sources. Airborne materials are continually subject to variable winds and other atmospheric factors. This means that a given output of air pollutants may be potentially hazardous only periodically and may not always be uniformly distributed to one area. Erratic distribution patterns dictate the need for careful, comprehensive and standardized sampling procedures if accurate evaluations are to be made of atmospheric pollution within a given area. Ambient air analyses do not provide an accurate basis for evaluating the degree of fluorosis in livestock.
* The terms fluorine and fluoride and the symbol F are used interchangeably in this report.