Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Each community makes its own decision about whether or not to add fluoride. EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride of 4 mg/L (some people who drink water containing fluoride in excess of this level over many years could get bone disease, including pain and tenderness of the bones). EPA has also set a secondary fluoride standard of 2 mg/L to protect against dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and/or pitting of the permanent teeth. This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. Children under nine should not drink water that has more than 2 mg/L of fluoride.
In 2011, EPA announced its intent to review drinking water regulations for fluoride as part of the Six-Year Review of Drinking Water Standards required by the SDWA. More detailed information about this process is available online.
- Review of the Fluoride Drinking Water Regulation
- Fluoride Risk Assessment and Relative Source Contribution
- Fluoride Health Effects in Drinking Water
Additional useful resources:
- EPA publication Fact Sheet: Fluoride in Drinking Water Opens a New Window. (EPA Number: 822F93010).
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks
- National Cancer Institute Fluoridated Water: Questions and Answers
If you have additional questions: