The Food and Drug Administration proposes a new rule, updating the appropriate amount of fluoride that bottled water should contain.
Fluoride is an important nutrient that can help to decrease cavities and tooth decay. While the public can definitely reap rewards from fluoride, too much of it is not a good thing at all.
Too Much Fluoride Is Bad
Overexposure to fluoride may lead to dental fluorosis, which is a condition that often occurs among young children aged 8 and below, when teeth formation is at its peak. This causes the appearance of white spots on the surface of the tooth and alter the look of the enamel. While it may be visually agonizing, the condition does not usually cause impaired dental functioning.
In the United States, most cases of dental fluorosis are considered very mild or mild. Moderate to severe types are rare. When these rare cases occur, patients experience pit formation in the teeth.
The FDA believes that having the right balance of fluoride consumption, especially in children, is very crucial as their teeth are still developing.
FDA Stepping Up
FDA is tasked to make sure that fluoride, if added in bottled water products, is at correct levels.
FDA has the responsibility is to ensure that the public receives the benefits of fluoride while being protected from its possible adverse effects. This is the reason why they are stepping up, and making a way to decrease the levels of fluoride in bottled water if added by production companies.
The Proposed Rule
The proposal, titled "Proposed Rule to Revise the Allowable Level of Fluoride in Bottled Water to which Fluoride Has Been Added," was released by the FDA on April 2.
The authors proposed to lower the permissible amount of fluoride in bottled water to which fluoride is added by the manufacturer to 0.7 mg/L. Such number reflects the 2015 recommendation of the U.S. Public Health Service for community water schemes that add fluoride to avoid dental caries. Manufacturers were made aware of this so a number of them have already started working on this issue back then.
If the proposal does not encounter bumps on the road, it will pave the way for the revision of existing allowable amounts of fluoride in locally packaged and imported bottled water to which fluoride is added by the producer. This rule will not impact the permissible levels of fluoride in products to which fluoride is not added by the manufacturer.
"Today's action, if finalized, is a step toward helping to ensure that bottled water strikes the right fluoride balance by setting out requirements that manufacturers who add fluoride to bottled water must adhere to," says Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. She adds that reducing fluoride levels will help the public to get the benefits of fluoride while preventing the effects of overexposure.
The public, as well as stakeholders and industry members, are given the chance to comment on the proposal for 60 days. Details on how to submit questions, concerns, or suggestions can be found in the federal register.