Fluoride exposure in public drinking water and childhood and adolescent osteosarcoma in Texas

Cancer Causes Control. 2016 Jul;27(7):863-8. doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0759-9. Epub 2016 May 17.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between fluoride levels in public drinking water and childhood and adolescent osteosarcoma in Texas; to date, studies examining this relationship have been equivocal. Using areas with high and low naturally occurring fluoride, as well as areas with optimal fluoridation, we examined a wide range of fluoride levels in public drinking water.

Methods: This was a population-based case-control study, with both cases and controls obtained from the Texas Cancer Registry. Eligible cases were Texas children and adolescents <20 years old diagnosed with osteosarcoma between 1996 and 2006. Controls were sampled from children and adolescents diagnosed with either central nervous system (CNS) tumors or leukemia during the same time frame. Using geocoded patient addresses at the time of diagnosis, we estimated patients' drinking water fluoride exposure levels based on the fluoride levels of their residence's public water system (PWS). Unconditional logistic regression models were used to assess the association between osteosarcoma and public drinking water fluoride level, adjusting for several demographic risk factors.

Results: Three hundred and eight osteosarcoma cases, 598 leukemia controls, and 604 CNS tumor controls met selection criteria and were assigned a corresponding PWS fluoride level. PWS fluoride level was not associated with osteosarcoma, either in a univariable analysis or after adjusting for age, sex, race, and poverty index. Stratified analyses by sex were conducted; no association between PWS fluoride level and osteosarcoma was observed among either males or females.

Conclusions: No relationship was found between fluoride levels in public drinking water and childhood/adolescent osteosarcoma in Texas.

Keywords: Cancer epidemiology; Childhood osteosarcoma; Fluoridation; Public drinking water.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demography
  • Drinking Water / analysis*
  • Female
  • Fluoridation
  • Fluorides / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Osteosarcoma / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Drinking Water
  • Fluorides