FDA announced last week it will allow fluoridation of bottled water to assist in the prevention of dental caries (cavities), prompting praise from the American Dental Association and concerns from anti-fluoride groups.
Bottled water containing between 0.6 and 1.0 mg/L total fluoride will be eligible to bear the following claim: “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of [dental caries or tooth decay].” The claimis not allowed with water intended for infants, FDA said.
The American Dental Association immediately praised the agency’s decision. “Whether you drink fluoridated water from the tap or buy it in a bottle, you’re doing the right thing for your oral health,” saidADA executive director James Bramson. “Thanks to the FDA’s decision,bottlers can now claim what dentists have long known–that optimallyfluoridated water helps prevent tooth decay.”
However, FDA’s decision didn’t please groups opposed to fluoridation, who claim that fluoride can cause negative health repercussions even in the small quantities present in water. “Modern studies also link fluoride to arthritis, allergies, kidney and thyroid dysfunction, bone damage and cancer even at the low levels dentists claim is optimal to reduce tooth decay,” said Paul Beeber, president of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. “Adding fluoride to bottled water implies to the American public that FDA studies give fluoride a clean bill of health–and that’s not true,” he said.