Beginning on January 23, 2012, the Philadelphia Water Department will reduce their current fluoride level from an average of 1.0 milligram per liter (mg/L) to 0.7 mg/L. They expect this reduction to be complete by January 30. This change is being made in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened an inter-agency panel of scientists to review scientific evidence related to the 1962 U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Drinking Water Standards related to recommendations for fluoride concentrations in drinking water. In addition, HHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a scientific review of drinking water fluoride practices before revising the recommended level for tap water to 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replacing the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams/L. The new level of 0.7 mg/L for fluoride in tap water achieves a balance between the prevention of tooth decay and the risk of dental fluorosis.
Water fluoridation has been successfully practiced in the United States since 1945. The public health impact of fluoridating community water supplies was identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. The Water Department has been fluoridating its drinking water since 1951 following the endorsement of the American Dental Association and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
HHS’s announcement can be found at:http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/01/20110107a.html
In addition, information concerning the overall (top) quality of the city’s drinking water is contained in the department’s annual Drinking Water Quality Report which can be accessed on its website at: http://www.phila.gov/water/Water_Quality.html.