Over the last several weeks many of our members have been contacted by concerned residents asking about the amount of fluoride in their drinking water. Despite erroneous media reports and the practices of bottle water distributors, the Long Island Water Conference wants to once again assure Long Islanders that there is absolutely no fluoride in any of Long Island’s drinking water.
In a column earlier this year, I noted that the federal government announced concerns that fluoride levels in various parts of the country are too high. The determination is based on studies that show adding fluoride to drinking water provides little or no benefit to dental health and can, in fact, lead to adverse health conditions.
It was previously believed that fluoride was most effective when ingested, and that the addition of fluoride to local groundwater systems would be the optimal way to help prevent tooth decay. However, since that initial introduction of fluoride to drinking water in the 1950s, scientists have learned that applying fluoride directly to the teeth, as with toothpaste and rinses, is the most effective way to prevent tooth decay.
Furthermore, recent studies have shown that a high intake of fluoride may lead to fluorosis, a condition that causes pitting and staining of the teeth. It has also been determined that high levels of fluoride could also potentially depress IQ levels, weaken bones, and increase the likelihood of fractures.
With these reports, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recommended lowering the fluoride in drinking water. The HHS is proposing to reduce the recommended dose of fluoride in water to 0.7 mg/L. This is the first decrease in 50 years; the previous “optimum” fluoride level was 0.7-1.2 mg/L.
The Long Island Water Conference notes that the various drinking water providers across Long Island have continuously supplied residents with safe, clean water of the highest quality. Long Island has approximately 1,000 drinking water wells. Water providers continually test the water quality at each of these wells to ensure that it meets or exceeds all local, state and federal drinking water standards.
The Long Island Water Conference assures Long Islanders that they can continue to expect the highest standards of safety in the country and exceptional quality drinking water.