Tea is a major source of fluoride intake in humans. Adequate fluoride intake is helpful in preventing dental caries, but excessive intake may lead to adverse effects. In order to evaluate the safety of tea drinking in Taiwan, the fluoride concentrations of 89 leaf tea samples and 42 bagged tea samples in their 1% infusions and 78 ready-to-drink tea beverage samples were determined by a fluoride ion selective electrode, which were 0.14-2.31 mg/L, 0.23-3.60 mg/L and 0.43-2.51 mg/L, respectively. Taiwanese leaf teas of different fermentation degree or from different plantation areas did not differ significantly in the fluoride levels in their infusions, but Taiwanese leaf teas in semi-ball shape had a significantly lower fluoride level than those in stick shape. Moreover, the bagged teas with tea leaves from Taiwan or Sri Lanka had a significantly lower fluoride level than those with tea leaves from unknown or mixed sources. Assuming five cups of tea (approximately 1000 ml) or two bottles of 600 ml tea beverages were consumed per day, the daily fluoride intake from 1% infusions of leaf teas, 1% infusions of bagged teas and ready-to-drink tea beverages were 0.14-2.31 mg, 0.23-3.60 mg and 0.38-3.01 mg, respectively. As the Adequate Intake (AI) for fluoride is set at 0.05 mg/day/kg body weight, drinking tea infusions or ready-to-drink beverages result in a high risk of exceeding fluoride intake recommendations for children less than 45 kg. Children of 8 years or less are particularly concerned as the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is set at 0.10 mg/kg/day specifically for this age group. It is suggested that the determination of fluoride concentrations and the enactment of daily safety precautions are indicated for all types of tea products to prevent the intake of excessive fluoride.
Online ISSN: 1459-0263Year: 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 1, pages 178-183. Publisher: WFL.
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