Black Tea Source, Production, and Consumption: Assessment of Health Risks of Fluoride Intake in New Zealand

J Environ Public Health. 2017:2017:5120504. doi: 10.1155/2017/5120504. Epub 2017 Jun 21.


In countries with fluoridation of public water, it is imperative to determine other dietary sources of fluoride intake to reduce the public health risk of chronic exposure. New Zealand has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of black tea internationally and is one of the few countries to artificially fluoridate public water; yet no information is available to consumers on the fluoride levels in tea products. In this study, we determined the contribution of black tea as a source of dietary fluoride intake by measuring the fluoride content in 18 brands of commercially available products in New Zealand. Fluoride concentrations were measured by potentiometric method with a fluoride ion-selective electrode and the contribution of black tea to Adequate Intake (AI) and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) was calculated for a range of consumption scenarios. We examined factors that influence the fluoride content in manufactured tea and tea infusions, as well as temporal changes in fluoride exposure from black tea. We review the international evidence regarding chronic fluoride intake and its association with chronic pain, arthritic disease, and musculoskeletal disorders and provide insights into possible association between fluoride intake and the high prevalence of these disorders in New Zealand.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / chemically induced
  • Chronic Pain / chemically induced
  • Diet
  • Fluorides / adverse effects
  • Fluorides / analysis*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / chemically induced
  • New Zealand
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Tea
  • Fluorides