Fluoridation Debate Continues

August 1, 2001


A decades-old controversy continues to hound the issue of fluoridated drinking water, which is consumed by a little over half of the US population. In November 2000, at least 23 US communities voted on this issue, and 14 defeated fluoridation proposals. In recent years, legislators in some states have developed fluoridation mandates. HI is expected to address this topic in coming months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that adding about 1 part per million of fluoride to public water supply is safe and effective. On Aug. 16, 2001, CDC is scheduled to release its latest fluoride recommendationsLinda Orgain, 770-488-5301.

Critics of fluoridation contend that US residents often ingest excessive fluoride from multiple sources such as oral hygiene products, food, and drinks. They point to numerous studies that indicate health problems related to excess fluoride, including thyroid impairment, hormone disruption, brain interference, hip fractures, bone cancer, and more. They recommend that fluoride not be added to public water supplies, and are filing lawsuits and pushing legislation in several states. Citizens for Safe Drinking WaterJeff Green, 800-728-3833. Fluoride Action NetworkMichael Connett, 315-379-9200.

EPA is reviewing its drinking water standards for fluoride and many other substances, and in November 2001 is expected to announce whether it will pursue a more detailed review of fluoride. Judy Lebowich, 202-260-7595.

Univ. of MI Researchers say that some level of public water fluoridation probably is beneficial, but additional research is needed to determine whether current rates are too high. Some young children may be particularly vulnerable to excess fluoride. Brian Burt, 734-764-5478.

The NH Pure Water Coalition claims that fluorosilicic acid, the substance most commonly used to fluoridate water, can contain low levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, and other contaminants: Gerhard Bedding, 603-355-2202.