CLEARFIELD — A state watchdog group challenged the Davis County Board of Health Tuesday to require fluoridated public water systems to advise their users that reconstituting infant formula with tap water could cause enamel fluorosis in their children.
Lorna Rosenstein, director of Waterwatch of Utah, cited a 3 1/2 year study released by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, which found that infants and young children are more vulnerable to developing enamel fluorosis due to their low body weights.
In response to the 2006 study, the American Dental Association and national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued advisories to their members that mothers either breastfeed infants during their first 12 months or give them ready-to-feed formula.
But Rosenstein fears that the public never got that memo — and that low-income parents who tap the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program cannot use the program’s subsidies to purchase bottled water or liquid formula.
“Parents who can’t afford ready-to-feed formula or who are unaware of this advisory are at a distinct disadvantage,” Rosenstein said.
Lewis Garrett, executive director of the Davis County Health Department, said his agency had not issued any public advisory mirroring what the ADA and CDC previously sent to members and posted on their web sites.
“The ADA and CDC are really only advisory, so the buck stops here,” Rosenstein said. “I would request that you do that.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, proposed changing the recommended fluoride level to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. The standard since 1962 has been a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
The broad concensus among dentists and public health officials is that fluoridated water has proven to be a low-cost way to markedly reduce tooth decay among low-income children.
Davis Health Board members had no response for Rosenstein on Tuesday, but Chairman Ben Tanner said they would take her concerns under advisement.