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Title: Fluoride exposure during early adolescence and its association with internalizing symptoms.

Authors: Adkins, Emily A; Yolton, Kimberly; Strawn, Jeffrey R; Lippert, Frank; Ryan, Patrick H; Brunst, Kelly J

Published In Environ Res, (2022 Mar)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Early, chronic, low-level fluoride exposure has been linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning deficits in children. Rodent studies suggest a link between fluoride exposure and internalizing behaviors. No human studies have examined the impact of fluoride on internalizing behaviors during adolescence. OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the relationship between urinary fluoride and early adolescent internalizing symptoms in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS). METHODS: Participants in CCAAPS provided non-fasting spot urine samples at age 12 years (n = 286). Urine samples were analyzed using a microdiffusion method to determine childhood urinary fluoride (CUF) concentrations and were log-transformed for analyses. Caregivers of CCAAPS participants completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children-2 (BASC-2) at the age 12 study visit to assess internalizing symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, somatization), and a composite score of the three domains; T-scores ≥ 60 were used to identify adolescents in a clinically "at-risk" range. Race, age of the adolescent, household income, maternal age at birth, caregiver depression, caregiver-child relationships, and age 12-year serum cotinine concentrations were considered covariates in regression models. Sex-specific effects of fluoride exposures were investigated through the inclusion of interaction terms. RESULTS: Higher CUF concentrations were significantly associated with increased somatization (β = 3.64, 95% CI 0.49, 6.81) and internalizing composite T-scores in a clinically "at-risk" range (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 1.24, 6.9). Compared to females, males with higher CUF concentrations had more internalizing (pinteraction = 0.04) and somatization symptoms (pinteraction = 0.02) and were nearly seven times more likely to exhibit "at-risk" internalizing symptomology. CUF concentrations were not significantly associated with depression or anxiety symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to link fluoride exposure and internalizing symptoms, specifically somatization. Somatization represents an interface of physical and psychological health. Continued follow-up will help shed light on the sex-specific relationship between fluoride and mental health and the role of somatization.

PubMed ID: 34755609 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Air Pollution*; Anxiety; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity*; Child; Female; Fluorides/toxicity; Humans; Male; Mental Health

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