Nestling European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), raised and fed by free-living adults, were given daily oral doses of either distilled water, 193 mg sodium as Na2CO3 per kg of body weight (sodium control group), or 6, 10, 13, 17,23, 30, 40, 80, 160 mg of the fluoride ion as NaF in distilled water per kg of body weight (mg/kg). Dosing began when nestlings were 24-48 hr old and continued for 16 days. The 24-hr LD50 of fluoride for day-old starlings was 50 mg/kg. The 16-day LD50 was 17 mg/kg. The sodium control group did not differ from the water control group with respect to any of the measured variables. Growth rates were significantly reduced in the 13 and 17 mg of fluoride/kg groups; weights of birds given higher dose levels were omitted from growth comparisons because of high, fluoride-induced mortality. Although pre-fledging weights for the 10, 13, and 17 mg of fluoride/kg groups averaged 3.6 to 8.6% less than controls at 17 days, this difference was not significant. Feather and bone growth of the fluoride and control groups were not different, except for keel length measured at 17 days of age which averaged less in the fluoride groups. Liver and spleen weights were not affected by fluoride treatments. No histological damage related to fluoride treatments was found in liver, spleen, or kidney. The logarithm of bone fluoride and magnesium concentration increased with the logarithm of increasing fluoride treatment levels and were significantly correlated with each other. Fluoride treatments had no effect on percent calcium or phosphorus in bone or plasma alkaline phosphatase activity. Oral doses of fluoride appear to be more toxic than equivalent dietary levels. Most birds probably acquire fluoride through their diet. Therefore, the results of the study may overestimate the potential effects of fluorides on songbirds living in fluoride-contaminated environments.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of oral doses of fluoride on nestling European starlings
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology