The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have submitted a request for formal comments on a proposal of an operational control range for the fluoride concentration in community water systems.
Community water supplies have been fluoridated in the U.S. as early as 1945, when a controlled study on the effect of water fluoridation was completed in Grand Rapids, MI. After the results of that study showed a noticeable decrease in tooth decay, it spurred a widespread use of the practice in community water systems across the country and other studies to help understand the optimal level of fluoride in water for safety and effectiveness. Initial water fluoridation levels were set in 1962.
In 2015 the HHS set a new recommended fluoride level of 0.7 mg/L without a control range to help guide water system managers on what, if any, discrepancy from the recommended level was permissible. This level has remained consistent until now. At this time government agencies are considering restructuring fluoridation from this flat recommended level to an operational range still believed to be both healthy and beneficial to consume. The proposed range is 0.6 mg/L to 1.0 mg/L.
The CDC is recommending this range based on 1) information currently known about what constitutes a safe fluoride level in water and 2) the ability of water systems to control the level of fluoride in the water in hopes that it will help managers of water systems more effectively and efficiently maintain accepted fluoridation levels.
As these two groups consider this change and its potential impact on citizens they are asking dental professionals to submit formal comments on the proposal. If you have any thoughts on this suggested change to the current state of water fluoridation practices you can submit them on this Federal Register page.
Any formal comments you have need to be submitted by October 11 of this year.