In 1983/1984, a study of bone mass and fractures was begun in 827 women aged 20-80 years in three rural Iowa communities selected for the fluoride and calcium content of their community water supplies. The control community's water had a calcium content of 67 mg/liter and a fluoride content of 1 mg/liter. The higher-calcium community had water with a calcium content of 375 mg/liter and a fluoride content of 1 mg/liter. The higher-fluoride community's water had 15 mg/liter of calcium and 4 mg/liter of fluoride naturally occurring. In 1988/1989, a follow-up study characterized the 684 women still living and available for study. Residence in the higher-fluoride community was associated with a significantly lower radial bone mass in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, an increased rate of radial bone mass loss in premenopausal women, and significantly more fractures among postmenopausal women. There was no difference in the 5-year relative risk of any fracture in the higher-calcium community versus the control community; however, the relative risk was 2.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-4.4) in women in the higher-fluoride community compared with women in the control community. There was no difference in the 5-year risk of wrist, spine, or hip fracture in the higher-calcium community versus the control community; however, the 5-year relative risk for women in the higher-fluoride community, compared with women in the control community, was 2.2 (95% Cl 1.1-4.7). Estimates of risk were adjusted for age and body size.
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