The Journal of Dental Research published the results of a study that demonstrated that community water fluoridation is not associated with an increased risk of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer).

Fluoride ingestion has been suggested as a possible risk factor for osteosarcoma based on a 1990 animal study. Six of the seven subsequent case-control studies in humans reported that fluoride in drinking water was not associated with osteosarcoma.

This study assessed whether living in a fluoridated community was a risk factor for osteosarcoma by performing a secondary data analysis using data collected from two separate, but linked studies. Patients for both phase 1 and phase 2 were selected from US hospitals, using a hospital-based matched case-control study design. For both phases, cases were patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and controls were patients diagnosed with other bone tumours or non-neoplastic conditions.

In phase 1, cases (N=209) and controls (N=440) were patients of record in the participating orthopaedic departments from 1989-1993. In phase 2, cases (N=108) and controls (N=296) were incident patients, who were identified and treated by orthopaedic physicians from 1994-2000. This analysis included all patients who met eligibility criteria on whom there was complete data on covariates, exposures, and outcome.

Chester Douglass; Harvard School of Dental Medicine, said: “These results indicate that residence in a fluoridated community is not related to an increase in risk for osteosarcoma after adjusting for race, ethnicity, income, distance from the hospital, urban/rural living status, and drinking bottled water. This should not be surprising given that ingestion of fluoridated water is a common exposure and osteosarcoma remains a rare disease”.