HARTFORD >> The Public Health Committee unanimously approved a bill that would align the state’s water fluoridation standards with a federal recommendation issued last year, and also lower the maximum amount of fluoride that could be placed in the state’s public drinking water.
The bill, HB 5350, has been sent to the state House of Representatives for further action.
Fluoride was first added to the public water supply in 1945 to protect against tooth decay. Last year, the federal government updated water fluoridation recommendations for the first time since 1962. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended a fluoride concentration of 0.7 milligrams per liter in public drinking water.
The previous recommendation — in place from 1962 until 2015 — ranged from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. Fluoride is also naturally occurring in water.
While the federal government recommends fluoridation levels, state and municipal governments decide whether the mineral should be added to public drinking water. In Connecticut, any public water company serving more than 20,000 people is required by state law to maintain a fluoride content of between 0.8 and 1.2 milligrams per liter.
Legislation approved by the Public Health Committee would instead require that the same water companies not add more than “one-tenth of a milligram per liter different” than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation.
Therefore, the maximum amount of fluoride that could be added to the state’s public drinking water is 0.8 milligrams per liter, instead of 1.2 milligrams per liter.