The federal agencies recommended that the fluoride level for drinking water be set at 0.7 parts fluoride per million parts of water. The previous recommended amount was between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million.
Columbia’s average fluoride level in 2010 was 1.01 parts per million, according to a city water testing report.
The U.S. has added fluoride to drinking water since the 1940s to aid in cavity prevention. The two agencies moved to lower fluoride levels, noting that Americans get fluoride from more sources than drinking water.
Despite fluoride’s positive effect on teeth, overexposure can cause fluorosis among children, which results in streaking or spotting of teeth.
The EPA sets a maximum contaminant level for fluoride in the Safe Drinking Water Act at 4 parts per million. Columbia's water supply has consistently stayed around 1 part per million, according to the Columbia Water and Light Department.
Should the city lower fluoride levels in the drinking water to meet new federal recommendations?