NEWPORT NEWS, Va. Officials in three Virginia localities are trying to reduce excessive levels of fluoride, which in higher levels can damage teeth.
Drinking water in Isle of Wight County and the communities of Smithfield and Suffolk has — in some instances — double the recommended levels of cavity-fighting fluoride. Too much fluoride can turn teeth brown and pitted and cause achy bones.
The maximum amount allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency is four milligrams per liter of water, and half that for children under nine.
But levels were four-point-seven milligrams per liter in parts of Smithfield last, and as high as six milligrams per liter in an area of Suffolk.
The culprit may be their water source.
Many localities in eastern Virginia have high fluoride levels in groundwater, but most of them draw water from reservoirs. Smithfield and some rural parts of Isle of Wight and Suffolk are exceptions.
All three entered into agreements with the Virginia Department of Health to drop fluoride levels. They’re digging new wells and revamping water treatment.