January 7th, 2011
After decades of promoting water fluoridation, the U.S. government today announced it wants to lower the amount of fluoride recommended for drinking water.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing that a new “safe” level for fluoride be set at the lowest end of the “current optimal range,” according to a news release. The new level would lower the top threshold for fluoride to .7 milligrams per liter from the currently allowed 1.2 milligrams per liter to better protect people from “excess exposure”.
The EPA, which regulates water authorities, will be reviewing the issue while HHS takes comments before finalizing its position.
Department officials cited mild mottling or spots on children’s teeth as the reason to cut back on fluoridation. The spots indicate that these American children have absorbed more fluoride than necessary, during the formative years up through age 8, because they are exposed to fluoride from a variety of sources, from toothpaste to mouthwash to fruit drinks and bottled water made with fluoridated water.
Most dental fluorosis among Americans is mild, the HHS noted, and is “barely visible lacy white markings or spots on the enamel. “The severe form of dental fluorosis, with staining and pitting of the tooth surface, is rare in the United States.”