The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has reduced the fluoride levels in the drinking water treatment process from 0.90 milligrams per liter (mg\l) to 0.70 mg\l of water, effective March 1, 2011.
This comes as a result of a January 2011 recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In a joint press release, HHS proposed "that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water can be set at the lowest end of the current optimal range to prevent tooth decay." This replaces the previous recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. The reasons for the change include the increased access of Americans to more sources of fluoride. The new guidance updates and replaces recommendations provided in 1962 by the U.S. Public Health Service.
"Reducing the fluoride dose will not require a change in the city's drinking water treatment process and comes at no increase in cost," said Bob Steidel, director of the Richmond Department of Public Utilities. "Based upon the EPA and HHS recommendation, we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to maximize the health benefits of our city's drinking water fluoridation process."
Dr. Donald Stern, Richmond City director of Public Health, noted that "the U.S. Centers for Disease Control considers water fluoridation one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century due to its contribution to improved dental health. Extensive literature review has shown that the new fluoridation standard is best to prevent disease while avoiding excess fluoride exposure."
For more information about national and state drinking water regulations for fluoride, visit the EPA website, the Center for Disease Control, or the Virginia Office of Drinking Water.