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Government Recommends Lower Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

Government Recommends Lower Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

The U.S. government today called for lowering the amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water – the first such change in 50 years.

According to the Associated Press, health officials say too much fluoride causes spots on some children’s teeth. As the AP reports, “about 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral – though many cases are so mild only dentists notice it.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the condition, known as fluorosis, has become unexpectedly common in children ages 12 through 15 – especially since the 1980s. 

Most Americans drink fluoridated water

More than 72 percent of Americans on public systems drink water treated with fluoride the CDC reports.  According to government statistics, Maryland is the most fluoridated state, with nearly every resident on a fluoridated water system. In contrast, only about 11 percent of Hawaii residents are on fluoridated water, says the AP.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in concert with the Environmental Protection Agency, proposes to set the recommended fluoride level in drinking water at 0.7 milligrams of water per liter – the low end the current recommended optimal range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. In addition, the EPA will review whether the maximum cutoff of 4 milligrams per liter is too high. The new EPA assessments of fluoride were undertaken in response to findings of the National Academies of Science.

The government’s new recommendation “will help us make sure that people benefit from tooth decay prevention while at the same time avoiding the unwanted health effects from too much fluoride,” said Peter Silva, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water in a statement put out by HHS. 

Fluoride first added to water in 1940s

Fluoride, a mineral that exists naturally in water and soil, was first added to water in the United States in the 1940s to help prevent tooth decay in children 8 years and younger. Scientists discovered about 70 years ago that people who lived in areas where water naturally contained more fluoride also had fewer cavities. But adding fluoride to water systems has been controversial from the get go.

To be sure, Americans have more access to fluoride then they did when the current levels were introduced in 1962. Water drinking habits have changed in recent years, and fluoride has been added to many more products from toothpaste and mouthwash to bottled spring water. But is fluoride necessary for optimal dental health? And what about its effects on health in general?  

“One of water fluoridation’s biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community – at home, work, school, or play. And fluoridation’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay is not limited to children, but extends throughout life, resulting in improved oral health,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, explained in the same HHS statement.

Not everyone agrees the benefits outweigh the risks

“It’s amazing that people have been so convinced that this is an OK thing to do,” Deborah Catrow told the AP. Catow successfully fought a ballot proposal in 2005 that would have added fluoride to drinking water in Springfield, OH. She said that reducing fluoride would be a good start, but she hopes it will be eliminated all together from municipal water supplies.

Voters in Springfield turned down the measure 57 to 43 percent in 2005 according to the AP. They also rejected the idea in the 1970s.

And CNN reports that “the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to protect public health and the environment, says it has been pushing governmental officials to reduce fluoride levels for years.

“We’ve had to wait too long, but the government’s official, belated — and perhaps begrudging — announcement marks its recognition that fluoride policies have been out of step with the science on the tap-water additive’s toxicity to children, and that many American children are at risk from excess fluoride in drinking water and other sources,” Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group told CNN.

“Since 2005, EWG has been calling on federal agencies to respond to these findings, which come from National Academy of Sciences and many others, documenting that excess fluoride exposure poses dangers that range from discolored teeth to potential hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. HHS has taken an important first step. Now it’s up to water utilities to respond and for the EPA to lower its high, legal limit on fluoride in drinking water, which is more than five times higher than the new maximum recommended amount.”

Most European water is not fluoridated

Interestingly, the AP reports, “there is no fluoride in most European water supplies. In Britain, only about 10 percent of the population has water with fluoride in it. It’s been a controversial issue there, with critics arguing people shouldn’t be forced to have “medical treatment” forced on them. In recent years, the UK has tried to add fluoride to communities with the worst dental health but there’s still considerable opposition.

Some European nations used to add fluoride to water supplies but have stopped. Some countries add it to salt instead.”

In the meantime, HHS has submitted the new recommendations to the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period. You can comment at HHS is expecting to publish final guidance for community water fluoridation by the spring.





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3:08PM PST on Jan 19, 2011

No mention of the Manhattan project? That's definitely a critical component of this issue.

10:16PM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Sign: "Stop Fluoridation Now!" --

They don't keep email distribution lists associated with petition signers.

"In my opinion the claim for complete medical safety of fluoride is entirely false." - Sir Arthur Amies, Dean of the faculty of Dental Science, Melbourne University, Australia.

"Water fluoridation is the single largest case of scientific fraud, promoted by the government, supported by taxpayer dollars, aided and abetted by the ADA and the AMA, in the history of the planet." - David Kennedy, DDS, President, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology

"I am appalled... Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable." - Charles Gordon Heyd, MD, president, AMA

"Fluoridation is the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated and it has been perpetrated on more people than any other fraud has." - Albert Schatz, PhD Nobel Laureate for discovering streptomycin, quoted in Sutton's "Fluoridation:The Greatest Fraud".

"More people have died in the last 30 years from cancer connected with fluoridation than all the military deaths in the entire history of the United States." - Dean Burk, PhD (1904-1988), National Cancer Institute -- "Fluoridation: A Burning Controversy".

"Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific fraud of this century, if not of all time." - EPA scientist, Dr. Robert Carton (Downey, 2 May 99).

10:45PM PST on Jan 13, 2011


10:01PM PST on Jan 12, 2011

kirsten you need a filter, bottled water is just as bad here is some info :)

9:51PM PST on Jan 12, 2011

So, which is better: tap or bottled? I don't agree with adding fluoride to public water supply and am not happy about other compounds present in common tap water. So, should one drink distilled water, or filtered tap? Is this a choice between green and healthy?

9:31PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

Trishamae C. Why are you still talking like its good to swallow fluoride? the majority are aware we are being poisoned now, why arent you? here is what they are putting in your drinking water just incase you dont know, if you do know whats in it, your trying to push poison on people by missleading them.

Typical Tap Water Content:

Fluorine compounds
Trihalomethanes (THMs)
Salts of:

now if you still dont believe me do your studies

9:22PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

A recent evaluation of fluoride levels in drinking water indicates that they should be lower. Because people within the United States have more varied access to fluoride, drinking water doesn't have as much as it needs to help fight cavities. Some children have been getting over exposed to fluoride, which in turn causes spots or streaks to appear on tooth enamel. This has left numerous parents searching for short term loans in order to pay the dentist bills for their kids.

7:55AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

call me mad but i think ive just put 2 and 2 together, i think these chemtrails are industrial waste same fluoride components as in our water as there arent enough places being fluorated to keep up with the amount they are creating, they are trying to kill you!!

7:54AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

call me mad but i think ive just put 2 and 2 together, i think these chemtrails are industrial waste same fluoride components as in our water as there arent enough places being fluorated to keep up with the amount they are creating, they are trying to kill you!
give me your opinions lol :P

12:09PM PST on Jan 10, 2011

Fluoride in our water is forced medication. I do not want to drink it!

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