U.S. government recommends less fluoride in water

U.S. government recommends less fluoride in water

After over 50 years, the U.S. government has broached the subject of lowering fluoride levels in water again.

Since 1962, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been recommending that public water contain 0.7 to 1.2 mg of fluoride per liter.

Now, the U.S. government recommends less fluoride in water, suggesting no more than 0.7 mg per liter. The department first suggested this change in 2011, and many major cities have taken heed.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoride is added to two-thirds of Americans’ tap water, as it is believed to reduce cavities. However, fluoride is linked to a condition called dental fluorosis, which is the staining of teeth.

Minor cases of dental fluorosis lead to white spots, but more severe cases can cause brown spots. The latest stats from the CDC show that 41 percent of Americans between the ages 12 and 15 have fluorosis, and those numbers are rising.

In a statement, the DHHS expressed that changing fluoride levels should help reduce incidences of fluorosis, while still helping prevent cavities.

While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues,” said Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Dr. Boris Lushniak. “Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products.”

Fluoride in water has been a subject of controversy, as studies have linked it to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and hypothyroidism.

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1. “U.S. Government Recommends Lower Level of Fluoride in Water.” Newsweek. Newsweek, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015
2. “EPA and HHS Announce New Scientific Assessments and Actions on Fluoride / Agencies Working Together to Maintain Benefits of Preventing Tooth Decay While Preventing Excessive Exposure.” EPA. EPA, 7 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 May 2015.
3. “2012 Water Fluoridation Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 May 2015.
4. “Prevalence and Severity of Dental Fluorosis in the United States, 1999-2004.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Nov. 2010. Web. 10 May 2015.
5. “HHS Issues Final Recommendation for Community Water Fluoridation.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.
6. “Exposure to Fluoridated Water and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Prevalence among Children and Adolescents in the United States: An Ecological Association.” Environmental Health. Environmental Health, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.
7. “Are Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water Associated with Hypothyroidism Prevalence in England? A Large Observational Study of GP Practice Data and Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.

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