Fluoride in Drinking Water
New Jersey American Water is neutral on the issue of fluoridation of drinking water supplies. We consider the fluoridation of drinking water supplies to be a community-based decision. This means that any system in which we currently fluoridate, the decision to initiate fluoridation was not made by the company.
In the systems where New Jersey American Water does add fluoride, we follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards. EPA is responsible for setting national limits for contaminants in drinking water. These standards established by EPA are based on the best health effects data available. The agency’s standards are referred to as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). For fluoride, EPA set an MCL of 2 milligrams per liter or parts per million (mg/l). Where New Jersey American Water fluoridates, the process is carefully controlled within a narrow range at levels below the MCL; generally between 0.9 to 1.2 mg/l.
Communities served by NJ American Water where fluoride is added in the Drinking Water (As of January 2009)
Raritan System Public Water Supply ID No. 2004002
Serving customers in Somerset, Middlesex and Mercer Counties
Jamesburg Public Water Supply ID No. 1208001
Coastal North System Public Water Supply ID No. 1345001
Serving customers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties
Commonly Asked Questions and Answers about Fluoridation
Why is fluoride added to the drinking water?
Fluoride in drinking water has been reported to decrease the incidence of tooth decay when water is consumed during the period of enamel calcification. Excessive quantities of fluoride in drinking water consumed by children during the period of enamel calcification may cause a discoloration of the teeth also known as mottling. Thus, EPA has established an upper allowable limit for fluoride in drinking water.
What is the maximum level allowed in drinking water?
The EPA and NJ Department of Environmental Protection have set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 2 mg/l for fluoride in finished drinking water. This is the highest level of fluoride that the EPA and DEP will allow water suppliers to distribute to their customers.
What are the normal fluoride levels maintained in the New Jersey American Water systems?
The fluoride concentration leaving our treatment facilities is normally in the 0.9 to 1.2 mg/l (milligrams per liter or parts per million) range.
Can fluoride occur naturally in the water supplies?
Yes. Fluoride is a minor constituent of the earth’s crust. Generally speaking, the naturally-occurring fluoride levels in the ground water supplies in New Jersey range from non-detect to approximately 0.2 mg/l. The occurrence of fluoride in surface water supplies is likely non-detect, but trace levels can exist.
Will I lose the benefits of fluoride in my drinking water if I install a home treatment device?
Certain types of home treatment devices will remove 85 to more than 95 percent of all the minerals in water, including fluoride. These devices are reverse osmosis, distillation units and de-ionizations units. A typical ion exchange water softener, which removes calcium and magnesium, will not remove fluoride.
For more information
Contact New Jersey American Water’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-652-6987.
Dated: March 12, 2009