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A number of seemingly harmless substances can become poisons, depending on the dose. This is essentially true of fluoride and the exposure of the biological system to it. Fluoride has been known and used as an anti-cariogenic agent over the decades in dental practice. Many communities and municipal authorities had advocated for fluoride supplements in water sources to boost the health of the teeth especially in children. However, fluoride is now known to be toxic at specific concentrations, hence the dose and poison phenomenon. The ecosystem is exposed to fluoride in diverse sources, naturally from volcanic eruptions, marine aerosols, minerals and artificially from combination of other elements. High environmental levels of fluoride have been reported geographically from different parts of the world and have been associated with elevated levels of fluoride in the biological host. Both naturally and anthropogenic sources has been found to be toxic, at high and prolonged exposure, to humans, through food, water and air pollution, especially during early development and growth. These toxic levels have been associated with clinical manifestations in different body parts such as bones, teeth, kidney, liver, endocrine, including the brain.
We hereby highlighted some local sources (natural and artificial) of fluoride in the ecosystem and then bring to fore its neurotoxic effects. We hope to increase fluoride neurotoxicity awareness as a public health concern especially in developing countries like Nigeria. There is a need for more advocacy and research on prevailing environmental levels, associated pathophysiology and risk-benefit of fluoride toxicity, especially on developmental fluoride toxicity by ecotoxicologists in collaboration with neuroscientists.
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