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What is Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in ground water and is believed to aide in the prevention of the early stages of tooth decay. Fullerton’s groundwater supplies have naturally occurring fluoride ranging from 0.3 to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water (mg/L). One mg/L is roughly equivalent to one drop in 10 gallons. The City of Fullerton does not currently add fluoride to its water supplies. In comparison, water utilities that have chosen to add fluoride to their water supplies contain about 0.7 to 1.0 mg/L of fluoride.

For those water suppliers that do choose to fluoridate their water supplies, the California Department of Health Services requires daily monitoring by water utilities to ensure fluoride remains within acceptable levels. The California Department of Health Services established a primary drinking water standard for fluoride at less than 2 mg/L, which is more stringent than EPA’s primary standard of less than 4 mg/L, and must be met by all water suppliers.

Health Related Concerns Associated with Fluoridation

While most public health organizations, including the American Dental Association, endorse fluoridation, some citizen groups oppose it.Among other complaints, opposition groups claim fluoride can cause bone cancer or general bone weakness. There are numerous articles about fluoride, both pro and con, available on the internet.

In an effort to promote public health through the protection and maintenance of dental health, the State of California adopted State Assembly Bill (SB) 733, which outlines steps for water agencies serving more than 10,000 customers to be evaluated as potential candidates to receive State funds for the construction of physical facilities necessary to fluoridate their drinking water supplies. Although Fullerton has provided a cost estimate to the State for the implementation of a fluoridation program, the State of California has not yet been able to fund the program as intended under SB 733.

Future Fluoridation

Beginning November 2007, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which supplies Fullerton with about 25% of annual drinking water, has elected to begin fluoridating their drinking water supplies to a level considered “optimal” by health agencies for reducing and controlling tooth decay.This means you will be able to prevent cavities simply by regularly drinking a glass of tap water.

MWD will adjust the fluoride level in its water supplies to the recommended optimum range of 0.7 to 0.8 parts per million (ppm).In contrast, the City’s groundwater has naturally occurring levels of fluoride ranging from 0.3 to 0.5 ppm.Currently, water purchased from MWD is provided primarily to consumers located in the northerly portions of Fullerton, but can be provided to consumers in the central portion of the City depending on water demands.Whereas consumers in the southerly portion of the City receive only groundwater.

Water fluoridation is not a new concept.Water agencies across the nation have been adding fluoride to their water supplies for decades.However, customers who do not want to drink fluoridated water can purchase home water treatment units that use reverse osmosis membrane filtration to effectively remove fluoride.A list of state-certified water treatment devices may be found at www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/device/Pages/watertreatmentdevices.aspx.

For more information on fluoride in MWD’s drinking water, contact the City’s Water Quality Specialist at (714) 738-6896, the Metropolitan Water Quality Information Hotline at (213) 217-6850, option 2 or visit MWD’s website at www.mwdh2o.com/fluoridation/index.html. For additional fluoride information visit the American Dental Association website at www.ada.org/public/topic/fluoride/news.asp.

Additional Questions/Comments

Should you have any questions regarding fluoride in your water, please contact the Water Quality Specialist for the City of Fullerton at (714) 738-6896.In addition, if you have concerns or comments about MWD’s fluoridation policy, you should contact them directly at (213) 217-6850, option 2.