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A non-metallic trace element (symbol F) occurring naturally in rocks, and discovered by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (in 1771), but not isolated until 1886 (by the French chemist Henri Moissan).

There are trace amounts of fluorine in our bones and teeth, and sodium fluoride is used in many parts of the word to fluoridate drinking water. Fluorine builds hard bones and teeth, and its deficiency can cause tooth decay in children and fractured hips etc. in the elderly.

Although small amounts of fluorine are important, excesses can be harmful, as excess amounts interfere with calcium absorption, creating deficiencies that can not just nullify its effects but make bones more brittle than before!

A fluorinated supply of water shouldn't contain more than 1 part per million (ppm), since a concentration of over 2 ppm converts fluorine from friend to foe.

Because of this, brushing teeth with fluorinated tooth paste should be done carefully to avoid swallowing the paste - especially if you're also consuming fluoridated water.

Danger: An intake of over 20mg of fluorine is toxic.

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