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Fluoride

Status: National drinking water standard exists

 

Fluoride occurs naturally in surface and groundwater and is also added to drinking water by many water systems. Read More.

Fluoride has been promoted as a chemical that reduces dental cavities. Yet it is now well-established that fluoride primarily exerts its protective effects through topical mechanisms, such as sodium fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash. In contrast, long-term ingestion of fluoride in water increases dental fluorosis, which includes mottling, pitting and weakening of the teeth. EPA's maximum legal limit is set at 4 parts per million (ppm) to prevent skeletal fluorosis, a condition where bones become brittle and more susceptible to fractures, although these effects may occur at lower doses.

Even fluoride levels of 0.7 ppm, the amount of fluoride in drinking water recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service, can result in too much fluoride for bottle-fed babies. EWG recommends that caregivers mix baby formula with fluoride-free water. The National Toxicology Program is investigating the potential for low doses of fluoride to alter thyroid function and childhood brain development.

2015:

FOUND

49

states detected

17,811

utilities detected

208 million

people served

Health concerns for fluoride

Harm to teeth

Harm to bones

Bone cancer

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 4 ppm

The enforceable federal standard that defines the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water.

ppm = parts per million.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level Goal (MCLG)4 ppm

A non-enforceable federal health guideline. For cancer-causing chemicals, these health goals are typically set to zero.

ppm = parts per million.

States reporting fluoride in drinking water

UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served
California1,01539,095,136
Texas2,65023,246,444
Illinois1,22311,328,880
Florida1,0959,108,606
Ohio4597,794,950
Georgia6927,545,213
Pennsylvania5376,893,713
North Carolina8046,834,811
Virginia5066,421,761
Massachusetts1526,257,695
New York4515,274,507
Maryland1444,877,546
Colorado3834,867,417
Kentucky3574,416,692
Minnesota7494,302,440
Arizona1564,240,214
Missouri4714,234,139
Alabama2083,819,621
Indiana4503,499,376
Wisconsin2793,423,861
South Carolina2373,265,637
Louisiana3422,926,477
Michigan7612,919,266
New Jersey1532,754,372
Arkansas3492,500,073
Connecticut1652,484,573
Kansas4802,396,973
Tennessee622,303,472
Nevada822,177,831
Washington1512,067,391
Utah1031,866,473
Oklahoma2681,569,433
Oregon571,371,637
Hawaii461,361,026
Mississippi2601,222,943
West Virginia2281,197,362
New Mexico2631,127,645
Delaware106856,756
District Of Columbia3644,822
Iowa196629,979
Maine163546,228
Montana130407,947
New Hampshire192329,867
Vermont63324,031
Wyoming88293,440
Idaho22276,791
Alaska13248,680
North Dakota2486,639
Rhode Island2269,010
South Dakota1467
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Utilities with the highest amounts of fluoride, 2015

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Green Ridge Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association Inc.Tijeras, NM4 of 420.7 ppm130
American Realty Mortgage CompanyMaricopa, AZ3 of 38.40 ppm98
City of WellmanWellman, TX4 of 47.15 ppm225
Waverly HallWaverly Hall, GA8 of 86.58 ppm689
Fort Jackson Mobile EstatesLubbock, TX1 of 16.52 ppm61
Quail Valley Water Dist-westside SystemTehachapi, CA4 of 46.40 ppm139
City of Opdyke WestLevelland, TX4 of 46.22 ppm273
Terrells Mobile Home ParkLovington, TX4 of 45.62 ppm70
Southwest Garden WaterLubbock, TX4 of 45.62 ppm375
Borden County Water SystemGail, TX4 of 45.44 ppm250
Wolfforth PlaceWolfforth, TX4 of 45.42 ppm460
Birdsong Water CompanySuffolk, VA4 of 45.38 ppm71
San Simon Domestic Water Improvement DistrictSan Simon, AZ4 of 45.30 ppm310
Grassland Water Supply CorporationTahoka, TX4 of 45.24 ppm55
Glen Acres Water Co-opLordsburg, NM4 of 45.18 ppm185
City of New HomeNew Home, TX4 of 45.10 ppm334
Ironwood CampNewberry Springs, CA4 of 45.08 ppm1,000
City of WolfforthWolfforth, TX8 of 85.03 ppm3,600
Cox Addition Water SystemLubbock, TX4 of 45.02 ppm126
Longview AcresSmithfield, VA5 of 55.00 ppm168
North Trails Mutual Water CompanyAgua Dulce, CA1 of 15.00 ppm200
Springfield DownsSmithfield, VA5 of 55.00 ppm120
Lordsburg Water Supply SystemLordsburg, NM4 of 45.00 ppm2,797
Chocorua MeadowsChocorua, NH1 of 14.94 ppm53
Rescue WaterworksRescue, VA4 of 44.89 ppm203
US Army Fort IrwinFort Irwin, CA31 of 314.89 ppm16,000
Green Mobile Home ParkLubbock, TX4 of 44.88 ppm45
City of SeagravesSeagraves, TX8 of 84.84 ppm2,396
Loop Water Supply CorporationLoop, TX4 of 44.76 ppm300
Timber Ridge EstatesTroy, MO4 of 44.75 ppm40
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UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
US Army Fort IrwinFort Irwin, CA31 of 314.89 ppm16,000
City of AndrewsAndrews, TX8 of 84.49 ppm11,088
Bucksport Water CompanyConway, SC4 of 43.35 ppm12,340
City of Kyle*Kyle, TX1 of 12.98 ppm25,443
Lincoln County PWSD 1*Winfield, MO20 of 202.82 ppm11,000
Espanola Water System*Espanola, NM11 of 112.77 ppm10,495
City of HerefordHereford, TX1 of 12.62 ppm15,370
City of West RichlandWest Richland, WA1 of 12.56 ppm13,080
Epcor Water New Mexico Inc ClovisClovis, NM2 of 22.45 ppm39,508
BellwoodBellwood, IL3 of 32.35 ppm20,535
City of Moses LakeMoses Lake, WA7 of 72.31 ppm22,930
DCWA KnightsvilleSummerville, SC1 of 12.30 ppm20,413
Eastern Pines Water Corp*Greenville, NC1 of 12.10 ppm19,543
City of Bedford*Bedford, TX1 of 12.06 ppm46,979
Marco Rural Water Company*Marion, SC2 of 22.05 ppm14,939
Fort Bend County MUD 23*Houston, TX1 of 11.89 ppm12,297
City of Euless*Euless, TX1 of 11.87 ppm52,780
Easton UtilitiesEaston, MD6 of 91.86 ppm16,118
GCWSD Waccamaw NeckPawleys Island, SC6 of 61.84 ppm34,190
City of Norco*Norco, CA102 of 1021.83 ppm27,160
Bertie County Regional Water*Windsor, NC5 of 51.78 ppm11,238
Twentynine Palms Water DistrictTwentynine Palms, CA101 of 1011.77 ppm18,600
Global Water - Santa Cruz Water Company*Tempe, AZ14 of 141.64 ppm17,005
Johnson County SUD*Cleburne, TX1 of 11.63 ppm43,350
City of Safford*Safford, AZ4 of 41.63 ppm18,900
South Adams County Water and Sanitation District*Commerce City, CO1 of 11.62 ppm51,465
Security Waster DistrictColorado Springs, CO4 of 41.60 ppm19,000
Stonegate MDGreenwood Village, CO1 of 11.54 ppm10,413
Bartlett*Bartlett, IL2 of 21.52 ppm41,442
Epcor Water - Sun City West*Youngtown, AZ2 of 21.43 ppm25,362

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Fluoride, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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