Is Sodium Fluoride a Silent Killer?

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In summary: It takes time to do the differential diagnosis, but usually if you think someone might have hyponatremia, you can give them isotonic fluids until they get to a hospital. It's important to remember that hyponatremia is always a medical emergency, and should always be treated as such.
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swampwiz
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Shortly after his death and two inconclusive post-mortems, a former KGB defector told The Guardian about a toxin called sodium fluoride.
“The substance is colorless and without smell. It can be applied to personal items — like a pen, phone or door handle — or to places where the target inhales it. It dissolves in the ‘mark’s’ body. It’s undetectable in any post-mortem carried out.”
I had thought that NaF is used as dental treatment!
 
Chemistry news on Phys.org
  • #2
swampwiz said:
I had thought that NaF is used as dental treatment!

It is.

How much have you looked into this? Sodium Fluoride basically has just a couple of throw-away sentences in that article...
 
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Everything is toxic in high enough doses, even water.
 
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Thirst is an awesome feedback mechanism. I don't understand the modern obsession with drinking more than your body tells you it needs. Some sociological mass hysteria effect? A desire to exert some control over an uncertain world? A tribal based community signaling? A susceptibility to manipulation by capitalist marketing?

"Drink when you're thirsty" is pretty simple and sound medical advice, IMO.

Sorry, kind of off-topic.
 
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DaveE said:
Thirst is an awesome feedback mechanism. I don't understand the modern obsession with drinking more than your body tells you it needs. Some sociological mass hysteria effect? A desire to exert some control over an uncertain world? A tribal based community signaling? A susceptibility to manipulation by capitalist marketing?

"Drink when you're thirsty" is pretty simple and sound medical advice, IMO.

Sorry, kind of off-topic.
Not off-topic at all. In my experience at athletic events, this usually happens because the athlete misunderstands the recommendations for hydration, and over-hydrates way too much (and keeps over-hydrating during the event).
 
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berkeman said:
Not off-topic at all. In my experience at athletic events, this usually happens because the athlete misunderstands the recommendations for hydration, and over-hydrates way too much (and keeps over-hydrating during the event).
I guess it's the "way too much" part I just don't understand. Why? Who told them that's a good thing?
You have to really drink a lot of water to get into trouble. I would think athletes would pay attention to what their bodies actually need.

Plus, don't they have to pee really a lot? Or is it too quick for that?
 
  • #8
DaveE said:
I guess it's the "way too much" part I just don't understand. Why? Who told them that's a good thing?
They've usually read to drink a couple quarts of water before the event, and keep drinking water during the event. They often think that if "a couple" is good before the event, then maybe 3-4 is better. And during the event they keep drinking as much water as they can. Their physiology probably plays a part in it; most hyponatremia Pts I've had were pretty slim.

DaveE said:
Plus, don't they have to pee really a lot? Or is it too quick for that?
Yep. That's one of the questions we ask, "How many times have you peed today? What color was your pee the last time you peed?"

"It was kind of dark in the Port-a-Potty, Medic!" :smile:
 
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swampwiz said:
I had thought that NaF is used as dental treatment!

I call BS. LD50 of NaF is something like 50+ mg/kg, meaning that a 75kg adult would have to ingest almost 4 grams of the stuff to have a 50% chance of dying. It’s also non-volatile, so it can’t be inhaled unless it’s aerosolized. Maybe the source meant HF, which is indeed quite deadly in its pure form. Or maybe (just maybe) a former KGB spy is a liar…
 
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  • #10
swampwiz said:
I had thought that NaF is used as dental treatment!

Yes but you are not supposed to swallow it.
 
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Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?
 
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BWV said:
Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?

I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!
 
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  • #14
berkeman said:
Yep! I've seen that a few times in my Medic shifts at athletic events/races. What's the differential diagnosis for hyponatremia versus heat exhaustion? :smile:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373711

https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED443633

Plus one other Sx that I know of... :smile:
One can do a differential diagnosis fast enough at an event? I was under the impression that it takes time to do the differential diagnosis, so it's better to treat it as heat exhaustion first, since a wrong diagnosis there can kill quickly (~20 min) if there is heat stroke, whereas a wrong diagnosis on hyponatremia will kill much more slowly (many hours, by which time you can get the person to hospital and do tests), so as long as you give isotonic intravenous it's fine (just don't give hypotonic solution).
 
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TeethWhitener said:
Or maybe (just maybe) a former KGB spy is a liar…
Dental campaigner.
 
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  • #16
atyy said:
One can do a differential diagnosis fast enough at an event?
Yeah, usually only takes about 30 seconds to ask the pee questions and the food one. I'll still probably apply ice to the shoulders if they feel hot, but often the hyponatremia Pts aren't really all that hot to the touch (like heat exaustion Pts usually are).
 
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atyy said:
Dental campaigner.
4 out of 5 KGB agents recommend it!
 
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  • #18
NaF is used commercially to add fluoride to drinking water.
This explains it in a response aimed at anti-fluoride people:
https://www.in.gov/health/eph/water.../fluoride-and-water-fluoridation-information/

Paracelsus (1491-1541) 'The poison is in the dose'

Fluoride occurs naturally in many aquifers, water sources, and foods at very tiny amounts <1-2 mg/L.
It is not a required mineral in the human diet. But it does amplify tooth enamel deposition.

So: an answer is NaF can be toxic at high doses. NB: Every day, humans consume various fluoride salts by drinking and eating, even from sources that do not have added fluoride. NaF is one of those fluoride salts.
 
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russ_watters said:
4 out of 5 KGB agents recommend it!
That 5th one is taking a nice long vacation to Siberia.
 
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atyy said:
One can do a differential diagnosis fast enough at an event? I was under the impression that it takes time to do the differential diagnosis, so it's better to treat it as heat exhaustion first, since a wrong diagnosis there can kill quickly (~20 min) if there is heat stroke, whereas a wrong diagnosis on hyponatremia will kill much more slowly (many hours, by which time you can get the person to hospital and do tests), so as long as you give isotonic intravenous it's fine (just don't give hypotonic solution).
My understanding is that hyper-(not hypo)-tonic saline solution (e.g. 3%) as a 'remedy' for hyponatremia can bring about central (and lateral) pontine myelinolysis ##-## I think that the first proper treatment for hyponatremia is water privation, but the first treatment for heat exhaustion is stop running and lie down and then sit up and take a little water . . .
 
  • #21
DaveE said:
Thirst is an awesome feedback mechanism. I don't understand the modern obsession with drinking more than your body tells you it needs. Some sociological mass hysteria effect? A desire to exert some control over an uncertain world? A tribal based community signaling? A susceptibility to manipulation by capitalist marketing?

"Drink when you're thirsty" is pretty simple and sound medical advice, IMO.

Sorry, kind of off-topic.
I know that when I'm not feeling "regular", a nice glass of water "regulates" me.
 

1. Is Sodium Fluoride a toxin?

Yes, Sodium Fluoride is considered a toxin. It is a chemical compound that can be harmful to living organisms when ingested or absorbed through the skin in large amounts.

2. What are the potential health effects of Sodium Fluoride?

The potential health effects of Sodium Fluoride include dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, and potential damage to the nervous system, thyroid, and bones when consumed in high doses.

3. Is Sodium Fluoride safe to consume in small amounts?

Yes, Sodium Fluoride is generally considered safe to consume in small amounts. It is commonly found in toothpaste and drinking water in low concentrations, which have been deemed safe by health organizations.

4. Can Sodium Fluoride be absorbed through the skin?

Yes, Sodium Fluoride can be absorbed through the skin. However, the amount of absorption depends on the concentration and duration of exposure. It is important to follow safety precautions when handling products containing Sodium Fluoride.

5. Is there a safe level of Sodium Fluoride for consumption?

Yes, there is a recommended safe level of Sodium Fluoride for consumption. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 1.5 mg/L in drinking water, and the American Dental Association recommends a maximum of 0.7 mg/L in drinking water for optimal dental health.

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