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In Australia, Queenslanders rush to filter fluoride from water

Queenslanders concerned about the introduction of fluoridated drinking water are rushing to purchase the latest filtering systems. Almost 80 per cent of southeast Queensland households are now drinking fluoridated water. But the State Government has conceded it has received two petitions against water fluoridation totalling almost 6000 signatures in the past month. The Queensland Health website advises people concerned about fluoride will have to choose other drinking water sources, such as bottled or filtered water. Water filter sales are rocketing in Queensland. Courier-Mail_ 12/30/08

Australian Dental Association backs plan to add fluoride to bottled water

Food Standards Australia is seeking comment on a proposal that would allow beverage manufacturers to voluntarily add the chemical to bottled water. The federal president of the Australian Dental Association, Dr John Matthews, says it is a good proposal, because fewer people are drinking tap water. Radio Australia_ 11/12/08

For some in California, fluoridated water still hard to swallow

Last month, the Metropolitan Water District started fluoridating the water it serves 18 million customers across Southern California, giving life to another round of accusations and conspiracy theories. This time, though, a battle once waged by far-right red baiters is being led by independents and activists on the left. The move, four years in the planning, is the largest fluoridation project in U.S. history and thus a watershed in the peculiar story of one of the nation's longest-running controversies. For more than 60 years, a debate has simmered over whether artificially fluoridated water is one of public health's greatest achievements or an ill-advised attempt by the government to medicate the population by force with a dangerous chemical. Virtually all of the science and medical establishment -- including the American Dental Assn., the American Medical Assn., the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- have endorsed fluoride in water. Supporters say numerous studies over the decades show that the chemical, in low concentrations -- about one part per million or the equivalent of three drops in 42 gallons of water -- reduces tooth decay by 20% to 60% with minimal risk. Though far fewer in number, fluoride's opponents are strident and proud to be committed to an uphill fight. In the 1960s, foes said fluoride produced Down syndrome in children. Today, opponents emphasize fluoride's purported links to bone cancer, thyroid dysfunction and other diseases. They say toxins such as arsenic and lead contaminate the hydrofluosilicic acid used to fluoridate water. They say the benefits are vastly overblown and point to Europe, which has low rates of tooth decay even though most countries there don't add fluoride to their water.   Los Angeles Times_ 12/22/07 (logon required)

Much of Orange County, California water gets fluoride

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Monday will start pumping fluoride into Orange County's water supply. MWD Spokesman Bob Muir said the fluoride injection system at the Robert B. Diemer Filtration plant in Yorba Linda is ready. Diemer supplies about half of the drinking water in Orange County. Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach have been the only communities in the county with fluoridated water. Orange County Register_ 11/16/07

Extra fluoride in city water supply prompts Jacksonville, Alabama drinking water ban

Jacksonville residents were advised Monday to avoid the city’s water supply until the problem is corrected, probably later on Monday. According to a public notice by the utility systems manager, an equipment malfunction caused an abnormal amount of fluoride to be injected into the city’s water system overnight. The above average amount of fluoride is not considered dangerous, but its presence has resulted in the discoloration, unpleasant odor and taste of the city’s water supply. NBC13_ 4/23/07

Fluoride backers in Maine defend its use

Public health advocates turned out en masse in Augusta on Monday to defend the practice of adding fluoride to public drinking water supplies. The press conference came in response to a flurry of recent challenges to fluoridation in Maine. Speakers at the event took aim at a Bangor pediatrician who has asked the city to cease fluoridation as well as at the water utility in the Hancock County town of Mount Desert, where voters decided earlier this month to discontinue the practice. Beginning in the 1950s, fluoride has been added to many public water supplies across the country to help protect against tooth decay, especially in children. Critics have protested the practice on grounds ranging from fears of a communist plot to allegations that fluoride consumption is linked to autism, cancer and other health conditions. By Maine law, fluoridation can begin only with the support of local voters, and once it’s in place, only voters may decide to discontinue it. About half of Maine’s 150 public water utilities now add fluoride, which is strictly controlled to reach the accepted therapeutic level of 1.2 parts per million. Bangor water has been fluoridated since 1967. Bangor Daily News_ 3/20/07

November, 2006

Excessive fluoride in drinking water poses health risk: UN report

Excessive amounts of fluoride in drinking water is exposing millions of people around the world to risks ranging from often crippling skeletal problems to milder dental conditions, a new report released by UN health agency says. The report finds that the widespread effects of fluoride in drinking water remain largely unrecognised and neglected, and that much of the suffering could easily be prevented. Although fluoride is found in some concentration in all natural waters, bringing benefits for teeth, excessive concentrations in some areas can lead to debilitating health problems. The report identified Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and South Asia as three regions where unusually elevated concentrations of fluoride are causing concern. One of the worst affected areas is an arc stretching from Turkey to China. PTI/New Kerala_ 11/25/06

US approves tooth decay claim for fluoride in bottled water

A bottled water containing fluoride in the US can now state it helps to prevent tooth decay, the country’s food safety regulator has said, opening up both opportunities and debate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the health claim for bottled water containing between 0.6mg and 1mg per litre of fluoride. A model statement would state that “drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of dental cavities/ tooth decay”, the FDA said, although the claim cannot be used for waters marketed directly at infants. The move opens up a new avenue in the fast-growing bottled water market, but will also be seen as controversial at a time when potential health risks linked to fluoride remain unclear. The FDA said a review of government health reports on fluoride between 1991 and 2001 showed the tooth decay claim was valid. Beverage Daily_ 10/20/06

Too much fluoride in water endangers bones: study

Fluoride in drinking water -- long controversial in the United States when it is deliberately added to strengthen teeth -- can damage bones and teeth, and federal standards fail to guard against this, the National Academy of Sciences reported on Wednesday. The vast majority of Americans -- including those whose water supply has fluoride added -- drink water that is well below the limit for fluoride levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But the academy's expert panel said some 200,000 people in the United States may consume water that is at or above the government's standard because of naturally occurring fluoride. Children are at particular risk in communities with water at or near the federal limit, where about 10 percent of young people develop severe tooth enamel fluorosis, the report said. The report does not examine risks or benefits from the purposely fluoridated water that millions of Americans drink, which contains about one-fourth the government's limit, or less. But its findings were bound to boost the arguments of those who have long opposed addition of the chemical to public water systems for a variety of reasons. Half a century ago, some groups charged that putting fluoride in the water was a communist plot to poison Americans or make them ill. Government officials consistently denied the allegations. Reuters_ 3/22/06

Vermont residents vote to keep fluoridated water

Voters in Burlington overwhelmingly endorsed keeping fluoride in the municipal water supply.  About 70 percent of the city's Town Meeting Day voters defeated a measure that asked the City Council to stop fluoridation, one of several ballot items before residents.  Critics of fluoridated water have argued that the practice is unsafe, can cause health problems and is outdated. They also have said that water fluoridation amounts to compulsory medication of an entire population. Fluoride supporters countered that the procedure is a safe and effective way to promote dental health, and that without fluoridated water the rate of tooth decay among children would increase. Burlington Free Press_3/8/06

York County, Pennsylvania fluoride spill prompts water advisory

Residents of Fairview and Newberry townships in northern York County, and several boroughs and townships in Cumberland County, should not consume their water until further notice because of possibly elevated levels of fluoride in the water, according to the York County's Office of Emergency Management. The emergency management office said the advisory is the result of an incident at Pennsylvania-American Water Company, which supplies water to the area. York Daily Record_ 12/10/05


June, 2005

New Jersey State council hears debate on fluoride in tap water

Dental groups want it; environmentalists don't

New Jersey's Public Health Council heard sharply conflicting arguments Monday on whether fluoride in drinking water helps or hurts.  The council, which helps guide the state Department of Health and Senior Services, heard dental groups call for fluoridation, arguing that it strengthens teeth, and from environmental groups that said fluorides contaminate water.  Asbury Park Press _ 6/7/05


Scotland to abandon controversial plans to put fluoride in public water supply

The Scottish Executive is understood to have axed the proposal - which won support from the medical profession- in favour of better targeted dental services. Ministers feared a row over the fluoride provision and the updating of laws on the retention and provision of organs risked delaying the passage of a new health bill which includes banning smoking in enclosed public spaces. Scotland has one of the worst dental health records in the UK, with 55 per cent of children having dental disease by the age of five.  Scotsman.com_ 11/13/04

May, 2004

Washington state Supreme Court rules county health board can't order water districts to add fluoride
The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health adopted the fluoridation rule in October 2002, saying it would save millions of dollars in medical costs and prevent children from having dental problems. The Supreme Court ruled that state law specifically gives water districts _ not local health boards _ the authority to decide whether to fluoridate their water. AP/Seattle Times_ 5/13/04

Fluoride is good for preventing cavities, but too much may harm babies' teeth
A new study suggest that infants who drink large amounts of beverages that contain fluoride may be at risk for discoloration of their primary teeth. Infants who drank the most water-based beverages, particularly infant formulas made with water, were more likely to develop a condition called dental fluorosis when they were older. But for most children, the level of fluoride in the water supply is unlikely to make them susceptible to fluorosis, the study's lead author emphasized. Reuters_ 5/5/04

April, 2004

Juneau, Alaska to put fluoride back into the water
But City Manager Rod Swope is calling for a public forum on the issue. Juneau Empire 3/18/04

Most Illinois water districts miss fluoride goals
Out of more than 1,800 water suppliers in Illinois, only three have met the state's recommended level of fluoride in water each month for the last 20 years or more, according to statistics released Monday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Champaign News-Gazette 3/16/04

Florida county considers fluoridating its water: Officials failed in efforts to add the tooth-protecting chemical twice in the past 20 years, but some want to try again.
Pasco is the only county in the three-county Tampa Bay region that hasn't added the tooth-protecting chemical to its public water supply. St. Petersberg Times 3/14/04

January, 2004

Drinking hard water may help cut heart attacks. Finnish researchers find fluoride in water especially beneficial. But beware of iron. BBC News 1/14/04

Two small Utah water companies sue to stop fluoridation of water. They argue the cost is more than they can handle.  Salt Lake Tribune 1/8/04

September, 2003

Five-year-old child's rotting teeth send message to British Parliament from dentists: vote fluoridation.  Birmingham Post

Film maker asks Valparaiso, Indiana to stop fluoridating its water.  Northwest Indiana News

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