Easton Utilities customers may have gotten notices recently warning of elevated levels of fluoride in Easton’s drinking water.
Geoff Oxnam, vice president of operations at Easton Utilities, said elevated fluoride levels in Easton’s water isn’t anything “new or different” and said he remembers the notice being sent to Easton Utilities customers every year for the 10 years he’s worked for Easton Utilities.
“We have an elevated level in a couple of our wells, but of course, water that comes to a customer is a mix of a variety of our wells. What’s coming out of the tap is not elevated,” Oxnam said.
Oxnam said Easton Utilities was federally required to send out a notice to customers regarding the fluoride level since at least one well had elevated levels.
The EPA’s maximum contaminant level for fluoride in water is 4 milligrams per liter, or 4 parts per million.
According to the notice, Easton Utilities’ most recent findings detected fluoride levels between .50 and 3.78 milligrams per liter.
Also, all of Easton’s six water wells have a high degree of protection from man-made contaminants, so the fluoride in the water is naturally occurring, according to Easton Utilities.
However, Oxnam said the way fluoride levels are sampled and reported in Easton Utilities’ water quality reports makes it look like the elevated fluoride level is representative of all of Easton’s drinking water supply, but in realty the highest number only represents one finding in a single well.
Oxnam also reiterated that water coming out of a resident’s tap is a mix of water from various well sources, and that the overall water supply doesn’t have an elevated fluoride level.
Overall, according to Easton Utilities, the one well that was found to have 3.78 milligrams per liter of fluoride only accounts for 13 percent of the total water supply after being blended with the production of other wells.
According to the EPA website, “Exposure or excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to increased likelihood of bone fractures in adults, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness.”
If Easton’s fluoride level ever did reach above 4 milligrams per liter, Easton Utilities is federally obligated to take steps to lower the level.
EPA also has a secondary maximum contaminant level set at 2 milligrams per liter. For this level, any fluoride level more than 2 milligrams per liter drank by developing children could cause tooth discoloration, or dental fluorosis.
According to Easton Utilities, dental fluorosis in its moderate or severe form may result in brown staining or pitting of permanent teeth, but this problem only occurs in developing teeth before they erupt from the gums.
Low levels of fluoride in water help prevent tooth decay.