USA is reducing fluoride levels in drinking water for the first time in over 50 years | water

For the first time in more than 50 years, the government is lowering the recommended amount of fluoride added to drinking water.

Some people get too much fluoride because it’s now in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other products, health officials said on Monday when the change was announced.

Too much fluoride has become a common cause of white spots on teeth in children. One study found that around two in five teenagers had streaked teeth or stains.

Fluoride is a mineral found in water and soil. About 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose drinking water naturally contained more fluoride also had fewer cavities.

Since 1962, the government has advised water systems to add up to 0.7 ppm fluoride in warmer climates, where people drink more water, and up to 1.2 ppm in cooler areas. The new standard is 0.7 everywhere.

Grand Rapid, Michigan, was the first city in the world to add fluoride to its drinking water in 1945. Six years later, a study found a dramatic decrease in tooth decay in children, and the US surgeon general advocated water fluoridation.

But the addition of fluoride was – and has remained – controversial. Some people have fought vehemently against adding fluoride to local water supplies.

Today about 75% of Americans get fluoridated water.

The change announced on Monday completes a proposal first made four years ago. The government spent years sorting and responding to 19,000 public comments.

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