US health officials have lowered the safe threshold for fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 milligrams per liter, because Americans now get fluoride from a variety of sources and no longer need as much in their tap water.
Last week the federal government announced a plan to reduce the safe upper limit for fluoride in drinking water, to help protect children from the disfiguring marks or mottling of teeth that occurs with overexposure to the mineral.
Fluoride has been added to public drinking supplies in the U.S. for decades, at the behest of dental experts who claim it helps reduce cavities.
But opponents of fluoridation — which now affects about 70 percent of the U.S. population — say its risks outweigh any possible benefits. In addition, recent science shows that topical fluoride treatments work best to strengthen tooth enamel, rendering fluoridation unnecessary.
Following last week’s announcement, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) issued a statement saying the new proposed fluoride levels were neither protective of teeth, nor safe for developing brains. FAN argued that more than 100 studies have shown that fluoride damages animal brains, and 24 studies show an association between moderate to high fluoride ingestion and lowered IQs in children.