CHARLOTTE – Based on guidance from local, state and federal health officials, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities plans to reduce the amount of fluoride added to drinking water in the next few weeks.
Most health authorities say the fluoride helps reduce the incidence of dental cavities. In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recommended community water systems lower fluoride content.
Following the new federal guideline, officials Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities and the Health Department say they will reduce fluoride added to tap water from about 1 milligram per liter – equal to 1 part per million – to about 0.7 of a milligram per liter.
“This subtle change will continue to promote dental health in a safe and cost-effective manner while aligning current fluoride levels with the recent federal proposal,” Dr. Stephen Keener, the county’s medical director, said in a news release. “Local dental professionals and other public health partners are aware of this change and generally agree.
“… This adjustment will reduce the chance of fluoride over-exposure, a relatively rare situation that results in a condition known as fluorosis or discolored teeth.”
Reducing the fluoride will save the utility about $100,000. “Water customers won’t taste anything different,” utility Director Barry Gullet said in the release. “Your water will continue to meet and exceed all established health and safety standards.”
Find more information about drinking water fluoridation at the health department’s website, www.meckhealth.org.