Tea Council of the USA

Statement Regarding Research Conducted at Washington University
on Skeletal Fluorosis and Instant Tea

Issued January 26, 2005

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis published a study this week in the American Journal of Medicine based on a case study of a woman with skeletal fluorosis that resulted from her consuming between 37-74 mg of fluoride per day for most of her adult life. It was determined that the fluoride came from fluoridated drinking water and one to two gallons of instant tea prepared at a concentration of twice what the directions recommend (equivalent to up to four gallons per day). Following are comments from the Tea Council of the USA in response to this paper:

  • The average 8-ounce serving of instant tea contains 0.78 mg of fluoride. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that, in drinking water, up to 1 mg per 8-ounce serving is a safe level for adults.
  • To put the study into perspective, the researchers state that, based on the EPA guidelines, it would take at least 20 milligrams of fluoride per day every day for 20 years to produce skeletal fluorosis.
  • Based on the preponderance of evidence from research as well as the position of leading U.S. health organizations, the Tea Council of the USA feels confident in assuring that, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, tea poses no health risks, and likely even provides health benefits.
  • A multitude of research studies suggest that drinking tea can be included as part of a healthy diet and may contribute to overall health. Studies have found that tea drinkers have a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases, including heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • The primary source of fluoride in the diet is fluoridated water, according to the American Dietetic Association. The level of fluoride in brewed or powdered teas varies with the fluoride content of the water. Additionally, brewed tea and commercially prepared foods, such as poultry products, seafood and powdered cereals, can also supply varying amounts of fluoride to the diet.
  • The USDA has a database on the fluoride content of Foods and Beverages:

For more information, contact Joe Simrany at Tea Council of the USA at 212-986-6998 or Melissa McAllister at Pollock Communications, Inc. at 212-941-1414.