Liberty will resume adding a low level of fluoride to its drinking water starting in August.
The decision, announced last week, follows an evaluation by the city and the Clay County Public Health Center after new proposed recommendations earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The two federal agencies in January proposed reducing the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 milligrams per liter, down from a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
A final recommendation is due out later this year.
The city in mid-April decided to stop adding fluoride to its water as it went through the evaluation process. “We wanted to work through the process to make sure we add the correct amounts to get to the new recommended level,” said Charlie Stevens, the city’s director of utilities.
That decision was only to be a temporary one as the city collaborated with the Clay County Public Health Center.
“We wanted just to further evaluate our equipment and make sure we could meet the new recommended guidelines,” Stevens said.
The city’s raw water naturally has fluoride levels ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 milligrams per liter.
Gary E. Zaborac, director of public health for Clay County, said in a release that 65 years of scientific evidence shows that adding fluoride to drinking water is a safe and effective way to prevent cavities.
“Review of our data clearly shows that children who exclusively rely on a non-fluoridated public water supply consistently have a higher incidence of cavities than those who live where the supply is fluoridated,” he said in the statement.