A hot topic, yet something rarely discussed, is the fluoride found in our Atlanta water supply. When first introduced into our water stream in 1969, as required by Georgia law, people hailed fluoride as a positive addition to improve dental hygiene.

However, today, many national organizations, like the Fluoride Action Network (www.fluoridealert.org) are working to heighten public awareness of the toxicity of fluoride and its potential negative health effects. Among these are kidney and thyroid problems and, more frequently occurring, dental fluorosis, which leaves teeth brown, stained or even indented when over exposed to fluoride.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standard for drinking water quality and began community water fluoridation in 1945. While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) ensures that the levels of fluoride are not harmful, groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have conducted scientific studies that have raised concerns that fluoride added to tap water may present unreasonable health risks. Also cause for alarm, the state of California has classified 791 chemicals as “hazardous waste,” 39 of which are fluoride compounds.

While we should all worry about the potential dangers of ingesting too much fluoride, infants and children are at a higher risk since they are in critical stages of development. It’s important to condition your family to filter all tap water, especially when they’re young. Often time parents will mix formula with tap water, not realizing they are adding fluoride, so Gerber has developed PURE Water that is safe for children and parents can safely mix with formula or infant cereal without the worry of unnecessary toxic exposure from fluoride.

It’s been said that 1 in 4 people will develop some form of dental fluorosis, so it’s important to be conscious of the fluoride we ingest on a daily basis. Avoiding tap water in its purest form is the easiest way to begin taking a stand against fluoride, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with FAN and learn about where else fluoride can be found in your everyday life.