Water authority raises fluoride levels
by Laura Braddick
June 08, 2011 12:00 AM | 7660 views | 11 11 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority has slightly increased the amount of fluoride in drinking water, amid conflicting recommendations from state and federal officials on how much fluoride should be in the water.

The authority's target fluoride level has increased from 0.80 milligrams per liter to 0.85 mg/L, a difference that General Manager Glenn Page said customers are unlikely to notice.

"It's a very small change," he said. "We're just following the regulatory requirements we have."

Fluoride, which is also found in dental products, helps to prevent tooth decay, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed it as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. But overexposure at early ages can cause damage to teeth in children under 8, and adults exposed to excessive fluoride over a lifetime may be more at risk of bone fractures, according to the CDC.

For more than 40 years, water systems in Georgia have been required by law to have fluoride levels of at least 0.70 mg/L and no more than 1.2 mg/L, a range set by the CDC and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

But then in January, the CDC lowered its recommended fluoride limit to a flat 0.70 mg/L. The CDC notes on its website that consumers have greater access to fluoride now than when the mandatory fluoridation was started in 1962.

So the water authority dropped its levels to .75 mg/L, to reduce the amount of fluoride while still staying within the state guidelines.

In May however, the Cobb authority received a notice from the Georgia Department of Community Health saying the new level was to be 0.85 mg/L.

"The memo we received from the Department of Community Health was not dated, not signed and indicated it was from the director Brenda Fitzgerald, telling us we had a new target. It was going to be 0.85, which was more than we were used to," Page said.

The authority kept the fluoride level at 0.75 mg/L while it sought direction from the state, he added.

A few weeks later, the authority learned its official fluoride target was 0.85 mg/L, as directed by the nonprofit Georgia Rural Water Association, which the state pays to enforce its fluoridation measures.

Jerry Stapp, a fluoride instructor for the rural water association, said the difference between 0.70 and 0.85 is "like splitting hairs" when it comes to water levels.

"In the water industry and feeding process, you have that kind of fluctuation daily," he said. "Fluoride is a natural thing. We're just trying to optimize it to where it's effective."

Based on studies, the range previously set by the CDC is where fluoride is the most effective at preventing tooth decay, said Stapp.

"Below 0.70 is like a waste of fluoride and anything higher than 1.2 is too much," he said.

Because the levels can fluctuate daily, if the regulatory level were set at 0.70, sometimes the consistencies may fall below that minimum level of effectiveness, Stapp said.

A dilution system at water-treatment plants adds the fluoride, and the levels are tested once per day, as opposed to contaminants, which are tested hourly, Page said.

Fluoridation has become increasingly controversial as national groups urge an end to the mandatory practice, out of fear of fluorosis and other health factors.

The issue will continue to be examined by the federal, state and local agencies though, Page said.

"It's a dynamic thing. They're still waiting for a more firm directive from the federal level. CDC and Health and Human Services are all continuing to study the fluoride issue," he said.

Marietta dentist David Kurtzman said he supports fluoridation in water.

"You're not getting harmed by it more than the other chemicals and things found in the water," Kurtzman said. "Because of fluoride, there was a documented decrease in the amount of dental decay that got better and better until about seven or eight years ago," he said. Increased sugar in food and drinks are partly to blame for the uptick in cavities in recent years, he said.

The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority is the second largest provider of drinking water in Georgia and provides treated drinking water to Cobb County, Paulding County, the Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority, the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority, Marietta, Smyrna, Austell, Powder Springs, Mountain Park, Woodstock and Lockheed Martin.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 26, 2015
The rates of tooth decay are no higher in developed countries that don't fluoridate water than our own rates of tooth decay. Hence there is no reason to add it to our water other than as an easy way to dump toxic waste into our waterways rather than disposing of it properly.
June 08, 2014
Fluoride causes many illnesses in people!!! It's making us sick!!! Please stop putting fluoride in our water!!!
December 02, 2013
Look everyone, you don't drink sunscreen to protect your skin, just like you don't drink fluoride to protect your teeth, its already in the tooth paste. Infowars.com
Deeply Concerned Mom
April 16, 2013
Fluoride in the water or food is harmful to everyone, and I want to puke, when I'm thinking about how my child's Pediatrician said that it was totally okay for an infant/child to drink formula mixed with tap water, and that it's good for their teeth. My husband agreed, so he kept mixing the formula with tap water. I had no idea that tap water in the US is fluoridated! (I'm a German citizen, and I haven't lived in the US very long at that time.) On top of that... at least I was able to convince my husband to boil the water before use, but in this fluoride case, it's even worse! People wake up, before it's too late! We have to take good care of ourselves and our children, because no one else will!
Scott Stern
September 05, 2013
I agree with you,I will not mix tap water with formula for my newborn. I have been buying bottled water that I have found does not have fluoride in it.
October 01, 2012
Floride is a toxin and not a natural chemical found normally in our body. In order for floride to be useful for prevention of tooth decay, it needs to be applied topically to the teeth. We are one of the few advanced countries in the world to put floride in our water. The dental professionals are telling parents NOT to use tap water for babies formula or for children under 8 to drinl. Floride is harmful to the bones and possibly makes them brittle &more likely to break.It is toxic to the brain and may cause memory loss. Additionally there also seems to be a correlation between arthritis and too much floride in the body. The proper level for floride in the body is 0.000. I would like to stop florifating our water.It ican be harmful to the body and does not contribute to tooth decay prevebtation. Toothpaste does this. Thank you Suejean2011

Joy Warren
June 11, 2011
This increase flies in the face of the CDC's recommendation that fluoride in the water should be reduced to 0.7ppm (although the correct level should be 0.00ppm). Have you noticed that Colgate has now produced a non-fluoride toothpaste for infants and toddlers. Have you noticed that fluoride toothpaste should be kept out of the reach of children. Did you know that fluoride is a developmental toxin, an enzyme disruptor, a bio-accumulative poison. A toxin or poison is a substance which disrupts the natural action of an enzyme. Ok - the concentration is small but it is bio-accumulative. Our bones change over a lifetime from natural hydroxyapatite to unnatural fluorapatite which contains a lower level of collagen. Collagen is needed to make our bones supple and less likely to be broken. Am I getting through to you?

Increasing the concentration of fluoride to 0.85ppm is counterintuitive and downright immoral. Why do this to your customers?
J.D. Ripper
June 10, 2011
Deny them your essence.
June 09, 2011
Duh the State pays the nonprofit Georgia Rural Water Association to enforce its fluoridation measures.

Now whats wrong with this picture???????
David Staples
June 09, 2011
I'll stick to my well water, thanks.
June 09, 2011
Reading this has me completely befuddled.. and I'm one of the elders who has been against fluoridation of water from the beginning, when my own father, a pharmacist, fought against fluoridation over 50 years ago!

Fluoride was a drug prescribed by doctors to treat over-active thyroid patients. How much more clear do we need to be??? How many people do you know who have the opposite, hypothyroid, (under-active thyroid)???

For God's sake connect the dots in the puzzle, people. Or are you all so dumb now that no one in this friggin country is able to make a decision without asking the neighbor???

Bottom line: who gave anyone the right to add a drug to my water? Where is the doctor who wrote that prescription for me???

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