Fluoridation coming soon to a faucet near you
Last updated 11/2/2007 at Noon
Beginning December 3, the Fallbrook Public Utility District’s (FPUD) water wholesaler, Metropolitan Water District, will begin adding what dentists and scores of health professionals are calling “an optimal level” of fluoride to the drinking water.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water supplies through the erosion of mineral deposits. During the 1930s, scientists discovered that people whose water supplies had a significant amount of natural fluoride had extremely low rates of tooth decay.
Optimal fluoride level
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the “optimal” fluoride level for preventing tooth decay is between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million. The water delivered to FPUD taps will be fluoridated at an “optimal” level of 0.7 to 0.8 parts per million.
It’s the law
With massive studies proving people in communities with fluoridated water have healthier teeth and fewer cavities than people living where water is not fluoridated, Assembly Bill 733 became law in 1995.
This law requires water systems to supplement the naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water to meet the levels recommended by the California Department of Public Health.
Is fluoride safe?
Extensive research conducted over the past 50 years shows that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay for all community residents. Fluoride has been added to US drinking water across the nation since the 1940s. In fact, of the 50 largest cities in the US, 43 fluoridate their drinking water.
There have been literally hundreds, if not thousands, of studies that have looked at whether fluoride in drinking water is harmful to human health. These studies have looked at whether there is a link between fluoride and cancer, bone fractures and adverse effects on the immune system, kidneys, digestive system and reproductive system.
Supporters and detractors
There are supporters and detractors. FPUD is neither for nor against it; however, we receive virtually all our water from Metropolitan and, under California law, we are required to distribute the fluoridated water.
Supporters include: the American Dental Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Surgeon General and the World Health Organization.
Dietary fluoride supplements
Health professionals advise that fluoride supplements, whether pills or drops, should be discontinued once water fluoridation begins. Drinking optimally fluoridated water on a regular basis makes fluoride supplements unnecessary.
If you or a family member uses fluoride supplements, notify your doctor that your drinking water is fluoridated. It is okay, however, to receive a topical fluoride treatment in the dentist’s office, if recommended by your dentist.
Call the Metropolitan Water Quality Information Hotline at (800) 354-4420 or visit http://www.mwdh2o.com/fluoridation/index.html. For health-related information, contact the California Department of Public Health at (619) 525-4149.
• American Dental Association: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/fluoride/facts
• California Department of Public Heath: http://www.dhs.ca.gov/cdic/cdcb/medicine/oralhealth/fluoride/index.htm
• Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nohss/guideFL.htm