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Cancer Health Center

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Does Fluoridation Up Bone Cancer Risk?

Study Examines Boyhood Drinking of Fluoridated Water and Possible Links to Osteosarcoma

Caution About Study continued...

But Bassin specifically looked at the subgroup of people most likely to be affected by fluoridation: children. She limited her analysis to people who got bone cancer by age 20. That's because most cases of osteosarcoma occur either during the teen years or after middle age.

Fluoride collects in the bones. And it's particularly likely to accumulate in the bones during periods of rapid bone growth. So Bassin looked at fluoride exposures during childhood for 103 under-20 osteosarcoma patients and compared them with 215 matched people without bone cancer. Her study took into account how much fluoride was in the water in the communities where children actually lived and the history of municipal, well water, or bottled water use.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization, says water fluoridation should stop until further research can refute or confirm Bassin's findings. Tim Kropp, PhD, is a senior scientist at EWG.

"About 65% of the U.S. water supply has added fluoride," Kropp tells WebMD. "With evidence this strong, it only makes sense to act on it. Right now, it makes the most sense to put fluoride in toothpaste, and not into our water. It's not like this is a huge contaminant that will cost billions of dollars to fix. We can just stop adding it to our water it if we want to."

According to the American Cancer Society, every year some 900 Americans -- 400 of them children and teens -- get osteosarcoma.

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