U.S Want to Reduce Fluoride in Drinking Water

Published:February 10th, 2012

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According to a joint statement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water should be lowered to help prevent dental problems. The HHS recommends that the current range of fluoride per liter of drinking water (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams) should be reduced to 0.7 milligrams.

Implementation


However, this recommendation will not go into effect immediately. It first needs to be published by the federal register followed by a 30 day period for review by key stakeholders and the public. This recommendation by the HHS comes in the wake of a study that found that excess fluoride consumption during the early tooth-forming years in children (around age 8 and younger) may lead to dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is a condition which leads to streaked or spotty teeth.

Next Steps


The proposed guidelines on water fluoridation will be to be taken by state and local municipalities voluntarily, says J. Nadine Gracia, chief medical officer in the office of the assistant secretary for health at HHS. According to Gracia, the recommendations of the proposal are based on current scientific discoveries.

In the Meantime…


There is no reason to panic, says Matthew Messina, a Cleveland dentist and spokesman for the American Dental Association. Fluorosis in its most severe form will affect tooth enamel, giving it an opaque appearance. However, a vast majority of cases are mild to moderate. Messina explains that the HHS recommendation can be linked to increased fluoride consumption from other sources like mouthwashes and tooth paste. At an appropriate level, fluoride remains an effective cavity fighter.

Water fluoridation was introduced in the U.S in 1945. By 2008, 68 percent of U.S population had access to fluoridated water, says the HHS.


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