NRC (2006): Fluoride’s Impact on the Thyroid Gland

The endocrine system, apart from reproductive aspects, was not considered in detail in recent major reviews of the health effects of fluoride (PHS 1991; NRC 1993; Locker 1999; McDonagh et al. 2000a; WHO 2002; ATSDR 2003). Both the Public Health Service (PHS 1991) and the World Health Organization (WHO 2002) mentioned secondary hyperparathyroidism in connection with discussions of skeletal fluorosis, but neither report examined endocrine effects any further. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR 2003) discussed four papers on thyroid effects and two papers on parathyroid effects and concluded that “there are some data to suggest that fluoride does adversely affect some endocrine glands.” McDonagh et al. (2000a) reviewed a number of human studies of fluoride effects, including three that dealt with goiter and one that dealt with age at menarche. The following section reviews material on the effects of fluoride on the endocrine system—in particular, the thyroid (both follicular cells and parafollicular cells), parathyroid, and pineal glands. Each of these sections has its own discussion section. Detailed information about study designs, exposure conditions, and results is provided in Appendix E.