FDA to impose stricter limits on fluoride in bottled water – but some health officials say it’s STILL too high putting us at risk of bone disease and neurological problems
- The FDA has proposed lowering the allowable level of fluoride in bottled water to 0.7 milligrams per liter
- It’s slightly lower than the currently allowed 0.8 milligrams per liter
- Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, has been found to prevent tooth decay when it’s added to drinking water
- Some health officials say the proposed limit should be even lower, citing studies that have found excess fluoride to cause bone disease and neurological issues
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing stricter limits on fluoride in bottled water.
The proposed rule would lower the allowable level of fluoride to 0.7 milligrams per liter, a bit lower than the currently allowed 0.8 milligrams per liter.
It’s consistent with the 2015 recommendation by the US Public Health Service that says 0.7 milligrams per liter is ideal for community water systems that add fluoride for the prevention of tooth decay.
Additionally, the rule would only apply to fluoride that is added by the manufacturer, not the level allowed in bottles that contain fluoride from source water.
But some officials say that the new proposed level is still too high and and put consumers at risk of bone disease and neurological problems.
The FDA has proposed lowering the allowable level of fluoride in bottled water to 0.7 milligrams per liter, a bit lower than the currently allowed 0.8 milligrams per liter (file image)
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil, rocks and water.
It’s added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and drinking water because studies have shown water with optimal fluoride levels can lower the prevalence of tooth decay.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water fluoridation can reduce the amount of decay in children’s teeth by up to 60 percent.
However, experts have found that fluoride can be dangerous in high concentrations.
This includes dental fluorosis, which is when faint white streaks appear on the teeth when younger children consume too much fluoride.
It can also cause skeletal fluorosis, which is a disease caused by too much fluoride in the bones.
As the bones become hardened and less elastic, the risk of pain and fractures increases and can eventual lead to loss of mobility.
Some health officials are calling for even lower limits than the ones proposed by the FDA, claiming that dental issues are not their only concern.
A 2012 analysis led by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health looked at studies in which children had been exposed to high fluoride content in water.
The researchers found that the children lost an average of seven IQ points on tests.
And a 2017 study from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, found that higher exposure to fluoride before birth led to lower scores on cognitive function tests.
‘Given that fluoride can damage brain development, I would recommend that the maximum fluoride concentration in bottled water be kept at a lower level than 0.7 mg/L,’ Dr Philippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor of environmental health at the TH Chan School, told CNN.
Christopher Neurath, research director of the American Environmental Health Studies Project, says he doesn’t believe the new proposed limit is enough to protect children.
‘Currently, there are rapidly increasing scientific studies showing neurotoxicity to fluoride,’ he told CNN. That is our largest concern.’