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The US Food and Drug Administration is proposing a lower concentration level normal for fluoride in bottled drinking water, however some scientists and environmental teams believe that the planned limit remains too high and poses a danger to human health.
If finalized, the new regulation can lower allowable levels of fluoride in domestically prepacked and foreign drinking water to 0.7 milligrams per liter, a small reduction from the present normal range of between 0.8 and 1.7 milligrams per liter allowed by the government agency.
The planned standard would apply solely to bottled drinking water with additional fluoride, and would not have an effect on allowable levels of fluoride in bottled drinking water which contains fluoride from source water.
The FDA’s projected rule aligns with a 2015 recommendation from the US Public Health Service, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, that implies that 0.7 milligrams per liter is the best fluoride concentration for community water systems that add fluoride.
The new rule “is supported by findings from evolving analysis on the best concentrations of fluoride that balances fluoride’s advantages in preventing decay without the risk of inflicting dental fluorosis, a condition most frequently characterized by white patches on teeth,” the Food and Drug Administration said in its statement. Dental fluorosis is caused by taking in an excessive amount of fluoride over an extended amount of time while adult teeth are forming underneath the gums.
But some scientists’ issues extend way beyond fluorosis.
“Given that fluoride can harm brain development, I advocate that the most fluoride concentration in drinking water be kept at a lower level than 0.7 mg/L,” Dr. Philippe Grandjean, an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, wrote in associate degree email.
Christopher Neurath, research director of the American Environmental Health Studies Project, that is connected to the Fluoride Action Network, an environmental support organization, said “currently, there are speedily increasing scientific studies showing neurotoxicity to fluoride,” with analysis showing an immediate link between children’s intelligence quotient and their level of fluoride exposure within the womb: “That is our largest concern.”
The american Dental Association noted that “science-based organizations,” together with itself and the american Academy of pediatrics, “fully support the general public health advantages of community water fluoridation.” The association conjointly noted that the recently planned level helps stop decay, while not increasing the chance of dental fluorosis, that among Americans is primarily a cosmetic condition that does not have an effect on the health or function of teeth.
“Even with the supply of alternative sources of fluoride, community water fluoridation prevents decay by at least 25% in both kids and adults,” the association said.
Behavioral and cognitive health effects
Morteza Bashash, an assistant professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, found that higher fluoride levels as measured in urine samples of pregnant women are related to both lower ratio and exaggerated risk of attention-deficit disorder disorder among children in Mexico.
Specifically, Bashash found a decline in children’s scores on intelligence tests for each 0.5 milligram-per-liter increase in fluoride exposure beyond 0.8 milligrams per liter detected in a pregnant mother’s urine. it’s not clear whether or not this can be analysis applicable to the US population, he said.
In Mexico, as an example, the government delivers cavity-reducing fluoride by adding it to salt, not water, as many of us avoid drinking tap water.
Still, his analysis findings were “based on a verity measuring of fluoride absorbed within the body.” A Canadian study given at a conference last year and studies conducted in China showed intelligence quotient losses associated with fluoride levels at intervals in an identical order of magnitude.
Due to similar fluoride sources, laws and diet, Canada’s findings in urine levels, are in all probability, the same as those in America, Bashash said.
Neurath trusts that both the Mexican and Canadian study results would typically apply to the united states as a result of “urine fluoride is best measure of total fluoride intake.”
Canadian information from the past fifteen years has shown women living in cities with fluoridated water supplies had “almost double” urine fluoride concentrations levels as women living in non-fluorinated cities. “Drinking water fluoride is the major supply of fluoride for these women,” he said.
The impact of prenatal exposure to fluoride on intelligence quotient is “very massive,” Neurath believes. “And on a population basis, that is terribly concerning.”
Proposed rule might not be adequate
Neurath revealed in a study of dental fluorosis this year, based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey information, a “dramatic increase in fluorosis” over results from a decade ago. (The study, although published in a peer-reviewed journal, is co-authored by attorney representing the Fluoride Action Network in proceedings concerning the regulation of fluoridation chemicals by the US Environmental Protection Agency.)
More than thirty percent of adolescents within the study showed moderate to severe dental fluorosis (an extra thirty fifth of kids showed lesser signs of the condition), “a immense increase” over a survey conducted a couple of decade prior, Neurath said. He believes that the planned standard is unlikely to cut back dental fluorosis to acceptable levels.
However, he includes a larger concern. “Dental fluorosis is a visible sign of overexposure to fluoride, however there are different nonvisible signs and adverse health effects that are far more serious,” Neurath said based on the work of Bashash and Grandjean.
Grandjean’s work was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “Our review of studies from China and our own field study is in accordance with a recent study by US researchers administered in Mexico that elevated exposure to fluoride throughout pregnancy is related to toxicity to brain development.
“Given that fluoride is added to toothpaste to secure that the enamel surface of the teeth is correctly protected against tooth decay, there’s no need to supplement the dietary fluoride intake,” he said.
Alternatively, Bashash said, fluoride in water is considered one of the “biggest public health victories” in preventing cavities.
While his job as a man of science is to review a given topic, it’s the duty of policymakers to come up with the general understanding of what is necessary. The Food and Drug Administration looks “at the big picture” by gathering the proof and evaluating the pros and cons based on national priorities. “This has been a hot topic for sixty years.”
Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, explained that a “large, cross-government operating group” checked out the information on the market in 2010 to 2011 and concluded that 0.7 milligrams per liter was the suitable level of fluoride concentration in bottled drinking water, one that “balances protection from tooth decay while limiting the risk from dental fluorosis.”
The institute has funded studies that explore different health effects, she said, “and we are observing the data in a very systematic review currently.”
The International bottled water Association, a trade group, said it supports the FDA proposal to revise the standard of quality for fluoride added to drinking water.
“Most corporations are well below” the recently planned limit, according to Jill Culora, a spokesperson for the association. “The planned rule takes into account the various sources of halide in people’s diets and can any cut back the chance of dental pathology, whereas still providing associate degree best level of halide to assist stop decay.”
Cavities don’t seem to be the sole concern, Neurath said: “The projected rule isn’t adequate.”