Fluoride is commonly known for its health benefits, specifically in keeping teeth strong and healthy. However, fluoride levels in drinking water have been lowered in the U.S. in order to prevent tooth decay. This is the first time in 50 years that this change had been made.
According to Time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement on Monday giving the recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride in every liter of water. This is contrary to what was recommended way back in 1962, which allowed fluoride amounting to 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter of water.
According to Newsweek, fluoridation first started in Michigan in 1945 at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today, three in four Americans avail of fluoridated water from public water systems. Unfortunately, excessive fluoride can do more harm than good because it can cause white spots to appear on teeth.
Meanwhile, the HHS also noted that aside from public water systems, Americans can get fluoride from toothpaste and mouthwash they use regularly. They added that this new recommendation can maintain the effectiveness of fluoride in fighting tooth decay and at the same time reduce the exposure of Americans from too much fluoride.
In line with this new recommendation, on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also sent a letter informing manufacturers, distributors and importers of bottled water to limit the level of fluoride they add into their products to no more than 0.7 milligrams in every liter.
The U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Dr. Boris D. Lushniak said that fluoridation of water in the community is very affordable that it has been a preventive measure against tooth decay for around 70 years and lowering the fluoride levels in drinking water can benefit many Americans.
On the other hand, those who are opposed to fluoridation as well as some scientists believe that this new recommended level is not enough. They said that there is a link between overexposure to fluoride and thyroid problems and low IQ.
According to NPR, Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said people must be more careful with regard to the amount of fluoride they add in public water systems. This is vital for the development of brains in the future.
Meanwhile, critics argued that the public should decide whether or not to use fluoride and it is up to them to decide how they can get it. According to Michael Connett of Fluoride Action Network, it is time for the U.S. to follow Western practices by not fluoridating water anymore. This is despite the recommendation that fluoride levels in U.S. drinking water will be lowered.
By Stephanie Gallardo