Fluoride accumulation and bone strength in wild black-crowned night-herons

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
By:  and 



Fluoride was measured in femurs of black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) living adjacent to a phosphate processing complex near Pocatello, Idaho. Fluoride (ash wt.) in femurs ranged from 540 micrograms/g to 11,000 micrograms/g and increased (P = 0.0001) with age, but with no difference (P = 0.80) between sexes. Adult males (greater than or equal to 4 years) contained 5,409 micrograms/g compared to 6,042 micrograms/g for adult females. The tibiotarsus (= tibiae in text) increased in diameter with age (P = 0.015) in this study; fluoride was nearly related (P = 0.065) to the increase. As the diameter increased with age, wall thickness decreased (P = 0.011) suggesting excessive internal bone resorption, but fluoride concentrations were not implicated in the relationship (p = 0.64). The apparent increase in diameter and decrease in wall thickness may have partially neutralized each other's effects on strength. Although significantly higher concentrations of fluoride were present in adults than in Third Year herons, no significant change in bone strength (maximum load or modulus of rupture) was detected between the two age classes, but three of the four comparisons showed adults with less strength (i.e., a hint of diminished strength with age). The tibiae of Hatch Year birds were significantly weaker than documented in older age classes, but incomplete growth was thought responsible. The strong relationship between age and fluoride concentrations reduced our ability to separate a 'fluoride effect' from an 'age effect.' Other authors believed fluoride was responsible for an increase in bone diameter and the fluoride residues encountered in adults were within the range indicative of poisoning in cattle.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fluoride accumulation and bone strength in wild black-crowned night-herons
Series title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume 19
Issue 1
Year Published 1990
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 132-137
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
First page 132
Last page 137
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