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The Debate Over Adding Fluoride in Our Water
How do you think about having fluoride in your water? It is good for the health of your teeth, but not necessarily for that of your body…The debate over the positives and negatives of the addition of fluoride to drinking water has raged on for quite some time. Surveys done by water companies across the United States have indicated an even split between opponents and supporters of the practice. Let’s look at the reasoning of each side.
- Adding fluoride to public water supplies has been credited with being responsible for the decline in tooth decay within the United States since the mid-1980s. Affordable and convenient, it has been lauded as an important advancement in overall health and helps to protect against cavities.
- The American Dental Association's official position on fluoride is that it is completely safe for humans (if controlled at below-recommended levels)—a position shared by many other health organizations.
- Fluoride addition is sometimes viewed especially important in low-income areas, where access to non-water sources of fluoride (such as toothpaste) is limited to residents.
- Although it is up to each individual water supplier as to whether to add fluoride, the Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum level of 4 mg/L fluoride for human consumption. Consumption at higher levels over time has been proven to cause painful bone disease.