Association between fluoride exposure and cardiometabolic risk in peripubertal Mexican children

Environ Int. 2020 Jan;134:105302. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105302. Epub 2019 Nov 11.


Background: Several animal studies have suggested that fluoride exposure may increase the levels of cardiometabolic risk factors, but little is known about whether fluoride exposure is associated with such risk in humans.

Objectives: We examined the cross-sectional association between peripubertal exposure to fluoride and markers of cardiometabolic risk in 280 girls and 256 boys at age 10-18 years living in Mexico City.

Methods: We measured plasma fluoride concentration using a microdiffusion method. We collected data on anthropometry including BMI, waist circumference (WC) and trunk fat percentage. We measured serum markers of cardiometabolic risk, including fasting glucose, insulin and lipids. All the indicators of outcome were converted to age- and sex-specific z-scores. We also calculated a summary cardiometabolic risk score for each participant. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine these associations.

Results: The geometric mean (95% confidence interval (CI)) of plasma fluoride was 0.21 μmol/L (0.20, 0.23 μmol/L) in the total sample. In girls, plasma fluoride concentrations were associated with higher z-scores for all the individual markers (except for lipids) and for the combined cardiometabolic risk score (risk score: β = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.57-2.00, p-sex interaction = 0.02)), adjusting for covariates. No associations were found in boys.

Conclusions: We found that higher peripubertal fluoride exposure at the levels observed in this study population was significantly associated with increased levels of cardiometabolic risk factors in Mexican girls but not boys. Future studies with a longitudinal design are needed to confirm our findings and further elucidate the role of fluoride in cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: Adiposity; Blood pressure; Cardiometabolic risk; Insulin resistance; Plasma fluoride.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorides / adverse effects*
  • Fluorides / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Waist Circumference


  • Fluorides