Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)


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Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Drax » Mar 21st, '13, 08:02

The topic of fluorides in tea has come up from time to time. A recent article came up describing a woman who drank tea made from "at least 100 tea bags" (yes folks, here x >= 100) every day for 17 years.

Let's see, if you assume 1.5-2g of tea in each bag (rough guess), that's 150-200g of tea each day. At least.

Unfortunately the article ends with this tagline:
Rachel Rettner at MyHealthNewsDaily wrote:Pass it on: A 47-year-old U.S. woman developed a bone disease after drinking a pitcher of tea a day for 17 years.


Which is slightly misleading...
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby TokyoB » Mar 21st, '13, 10:08

I do use flouride-free toothpaste as a result of my tea habit. Necessary or not? I have no idea.
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby AdamMY » Mar 21st, '13, 10:46

I want to know how big was that pitcher. Most pitchers I have seen after 100 teabags there really wouldn't be much room for water left. ( I'd imagine the pitcher would be less than half full after they remove them). Either way I guess you can stuff your pot with tea bags. :lol:
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Chip » Mar 21st, '13, 11:01

I did not read the article, yet ... but what would compel someone to do this?
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Drax » Mar 21st, '13, 11:10

I wondered the same thing, Adam.

Sort of reminds me of the greasy-spoon diners that have the 20 gallon bucket of tea that just kind of is always ready to go. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's probably a good thing.

Chip, I would imagine that somebody really bought into the "tea is healthy" thing. I noticed you've got a Tea and Health forum potentially opening up; perhaps this thread could go in there? :D
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 21st, '13, 20:45

There has been a lot of research on tea fluorine, especially tea made with older leaves consumed by northwest regions of China. Most of the studies show that the older the leaves, the more fluorine there is. Traditionally, these very old leaves are made into mostly hei cha and low grade puerh. But in the traditional time, such tea with fluorine helped northwestern nomads people get enough nutrients and minerals. It was a trade-off between extra fluorine and additional nutrients, because traditional nomads people had mainly meat and dairy diet and tea, especially rough tea, was very much needed.

Most of those tea fluorine studies also suggest that, as long as the tea leaves are not extremely old or low grade - still talking about relatively low grade leaves in hei cha, and just not extremely low grade - fluorine wouldn't be a problem. So, either the woman drank too much tea, or her tons of teabags had mysterious sources :P Besides, one case without repetition never says much about anything. I bet there are people who never touch tea get fluorine problems too :mrgreen:
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby AdamMY » Mar 21st, '13, 21:04

Gingko, while I am glad to hear about these other studies, I don't think Drax was suggesting any of us are really in danger, mainly by his rough calculations. I mean how many of us go through 100grams of tea a day let alone 150 or 200 :shock: ?

While some of us on very heavy days can possibly hit that, I have a hard time believing many if any teachat members are hitting 100 grams of tea on an average day, let alone every day.

:idea: Chip there may be a teaday question in here, "Estimate how many grams of tea you consume on a typical day?"
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby debunix » Mar 21st, '13, 21:12

Agreed that this would make a great teaDay question.

I drink tea throughout the day, but because I tend to brew dilute, like to keep infusing into the sweetwater phase, and share a fair bit of what I do brew at work, my actual grams/day of tea is probably quite low. Might have to try to keep track while waiting for the teaDay question!
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 21st, '13, 21:31

AdamMY wrote:Gingko, while I am glad to hear about these other studies, I don't think Drax was suggesting any of us are really in danger, mainly by his rough calculations. I mean how many of us go through 100grams of tea a day let alone 150 or 200 :shock: ?

I know. Drax is sharing this for us to have some fun :D
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Drax » Mar 21st, '13, 21:37

I suppose I could search around for this information, but I need to go to bed soon, and maybe one of you already knows...

I'm assuming that it's actually fluoride that's causing the problem (that is, fluorine ions, or F- ; these would be the similar type of ions that if you took table salt, sodium chloride, and dissolved it in water to get Na+ and Cl-), and that's as opposed to fluorinated organic compounds.

If that's true, any ideas what the plants use them for? In other words, why do tea plants tend to collect F-?
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby debunix » Mar 22nd, '13, 00:15

Just read the NEJM case report version of this story, and it clearly emphasizes the number of tea bags and the estimated flouride intake of >20mg/d of flouride from all that tea. The 'pass it on' about a 'pitcher of tea a day' was made up by the writer of the Yahoo article.
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby brose » Mar 22nd, '13, 00:43

Drax wrote:I suppose I could search around for this information, but I need to go to bed soon, and maybe one of you already knows...

I'm assuming that it's actually fluoride that's causing the problem (that is, fluorine ions, or F- ; these would be the similar type of ions that if you took table salt, sodium chloride, and dissolved it in water to get Na+ and Cl-), and that's as opposed to fluorinated organic compounds.


It is fluoride ion that is the issue, it can take the place of other halogens giving different properties (less soluble, more brittle, etc.). This is especially true for kids who are growing fast and can easily incorporate F- into bones. Typically this is not an issue with adults who are not growing like kids.
Fluorinated, and other halogenated, organic compounds will give you cancer and other nasty stuff, but are not really a bone issue.

For those interested check out the heated debate here http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=13244&hilit=fluoride#p159249
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Maneki Neko » Mar 22nd, '13, 11:00

TokyoB wrote:I do use flouride-free toothpaste as a result of my tea habit. Necessary or not? I have no idea.

I do that too. Mainly because the tap water here is 'fluor-bombed' but also because of the tea. I won't brew my tea with tap water either.

I don't know if it's necessary, but it doesn't harm to be cautious with fluoride. Fluor toothpaste, fluor in tap water and fluor in tea... would tally up I guess :?

But at least the fluor in tea is natural and probably kinda bonded to the other substances in the tea.
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Maneki Neko » Mar 22nd, '13, 11:08

Arghh I can get all worked up about this stuff! I am SQUARELY against fluor-bombing the drinking water! :evil: :evil:

Preventing cavities...hah! That is the task of people themselves and of their dentists, not of the water supply companies! :x

I've been thinking many times of writing a letter of protest to the govt or the water suppliers...but would it have any effect...? *sigh*

Thank goodness in the Netherlands they abandoned fluor-bombing well before I was born, so I didn't have that burden while growing up. But my parents did give me fluoride tablets. And I liked them, yummy peppermints! :evil:
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Re: Too much tea (skeletal fluorosis)

Postby Maneki Neko » Mar 22nd, '13, 11:13

Sorry for my rant... :oops:
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