Photo: Diane Hammond (flickr)
It’s In The Water
Due to a rise in fluorosis in children, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency are recommending that the amount of flouride added to drinking water be changed.
On Friday, the government published a press release that calls for fluoride levels be set at 0.7 millligrams per liter of water. Currently the standards (made in 1962) allow fluoride to be present in a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
A moderate amount of flouride added to water can help fight tooth decay, but too much flouride can cause fluorosis, a tooth condition that causes streaking and spotting on teeth. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to fluorosis.
Changing With The Times
Flouride was first added to water in the 1940s, but the Department of Health and Human Services says that changes in children’s behavior warrant a change in the standards. While flouride was not common in the early 20th century, today children can get flouride in many ways such as from toothpaste, mouth wash, and prescriptions.
Advocates explain that lowering the amount of flouride in drinking water will still protect consumers from tooth decay while also shielding them from unnecessary amounts of chemicals.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non profit public health watchdog group, says the government has waited too long to make this decision. While the EWG supports the new legislation, they say it shouldn’t have taken the six years that they’ve been campaigning against fluoride in drinking water to pass legislation that reduces the amount to five times below the new legal limit.