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Don’t Drink the Water: Differential Diagnosis of a Pathological Process Present at the Ray Site and Discussion of Environmental Context.

Author(s): Elizabeth Nelson ; Christine Halling

Year: 2015

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Summary

In environments with naturally high or anthropogenically increased fluoride levels (>1.5mg/l), communities are at risk for toxic exposure to fluoride. Groups exposed to toxic levels of fluoride have higher incidence of maladies of the musculoskeletal, reproductive, and neurological systems. With chronic exposure individuals may develop skeletal fluorosis, a condition characterized by osteosclerotic activity evidenced by the ossification of ligamentous and tendinous attachments, along with an increased incidence of fractures. During the course of a complete survey of skeletal remains recovered from the Ray Site (50 BC to AD 450) eight individuals were found to share a constellation of abnormal bony changes. This Middle Woodland site is located the Illinois River Valley, an area rich in natural fluoride. In this study we evaluate the prevalence of symptoms consistent with skeletal fluorosis at the Ray Site while also presenting personal, environmental, and genetic factors influencing manifestation of the condition. This paper describes the observed abnormal bony changes while providing a differential diagnosis and discussing possible environmental influence on community health.

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Don’t Drink the Water: Differential Diagnosis of a Pathological Process Present at the Ray Site and Discussion of Environmental Context.. Elizabeth Nelson, Christine Halling. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394857)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America