The amount of fluoride in drinking water varies from city to city.
Edmond, Okla., obtains its water from two primary sources: the Garber-Wellington Aquifer and Arcadia Lake. The city purchases more drinking water from Oklahoma City. Edmond’s water supply contains some naturally occurring fluoride. Edmond, like all municipalities, has the option of adding fluoride to its water supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contains a listing of every municipal water system in the United States. That listing contains information about the amount of fluoride in the water. The results are published on the CDC’s website. Edmond’s results can be found under “Edmond PWA.”
The CDC lists Edmond as having a level of fluoride of 0.2 milligrams per liter. The fluoride is naturally occurring in the water supply. Edmond does not add fluoride to its water. That level of fluoride is not sufficient to meet the CDC’s optimal level for the prevention of cavities. By comparison, water in Oklahoma City has a level of 0.8 milligrams per liter, the optimal level to prevent cavities. An example of a water system exceeding the optimal level is Panhandle State University, a small school system. Its level is 1.92 milligrams per liter, all from natural sources.
Water Quality Report
Every water system issues a water quality report titled “Consumer Confidence Report.” Edmond issued a report in 2011 that provides information on the levels of fluoride in the water. Edmond’s water quality report indicates between 0.14 and 0.41 parts per million of fluoride. It cites as sources the erosion of natural deposits, fertilizer runoff, aluminum factories and “water additive” — which refers to the fact that Oklahoma City adds fluoride to its water.
Benefits of Fluoride
Prevention of new cavities and tooth decay is the benefit of appropriate fluoride levels in water. Bottled water normally does not contain fluoride. Citizens of Edmond obtain some benefits from the natural fluoride, but not the full benefits of having fluoride added to the water supply according to Dr. Krista M. Jones, a dentist in Edmond. That results from the levels in Edmond being 25 percent of the optimal levels.
New Fluoride Standards
In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency announced new fluoride standards for drinking water based upon current scientific findings. The new standard is 0.7 milligrams per liter. Implementation of the change will take place during 2011. The basis for the action relates to the availability of fluoride from other sources like toothpaste, mouthwash and applications by dentists. The new rule also balances the benefits of fluoride with potential health risks.
Risks of Fluoride
Excessive levels of fluoride for children under 8 causes dental fluoris, a staining of the teeth. Osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in children and teenagers, with 400 cases yearly in the United States, has been linked in some studies to fluoride, especially in boys, but the evidence is not conclusive, according to a review by the American Cancer Society. An possible additional risk is bone fractures in adults.