By John Vlahakis

Fluoride in water has increasingly become a more contentious issue for communities around the U.S. The newest battleground on whether fluoride should be in drinking water supplies can now be found in the state of New Jersey.  New Jersey legislators are crafting a law that will require fluoridation on the entire state, despite objections from environmentalists and utility officials.  More than 4,000 professionals (including 331 dentists and 518 physicians) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay and has serious health risks.    On January 7, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended lowering the level of fluoride added to drinking water. This was in response to national survey data showing that 41% of adolescents ages 12-15 have dental fluorosis, or discolored teeth, an outwardly visible sign of fluoride toxicity.  Since 1990, more than 300 communities around the U.S. have dropped adding fluoride to their water purification plants.  The US EPA is in the process of preparing a new health risk assessment for the maximum level of fluoride allowed as a contaminant in drinking water.  New Jersey needs to re-evaluate their proposed introduction of mandatory fluoridation of drinking water in that state, until the EPA and the public can add their comments to this discussion.

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