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

January 1, 1990

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 μg/g to 11,000 μg/g and increased (P=0.0001) with age, but with no difference (P=0.80) between sexes. Adult males (⩾4 years) contained 5,409 μg/g compared to 6,042 μg/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 fluroide 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. In addition, the adult night-herons had about 1.6 times higher fluoride concentrations than owls which showed reduced reproductive success under laboratory conditions.

Publication Year 1990
Title Fluoride accumulation and bone strength in wild black-crowned night-herons
DOI 10.1007/BF01059821
Authors C. J. Henny, P. M. Burke
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Index ID 5222306
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center