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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

  • Branchburg Township (including Neshanic Station)
  • Parts of Bridgewater (Bradley Gardens, Finderne, Green Knoll)
  • Cranbury (only sections served by New Jersey American Water)
  • Hillsborough Township (including Belle Mead)
  • Kingston
  • Lawrence Township
  • Manville
  • Millstone
  • Montgomery (including Skillman)
  • Peapack-Gladstone
  • Plainsboro (only section served by New Jersey American Water)
  • Princeton Borough
  • Princeton Township
  • Raritan Borough
  • Raritan Township (except Maple Glen)
  • Readington
  • Somerville
  • West Windsor
Jamesburg Public Water Supply ID No. 1208001
  • Serving customers in Jamesburg Township, Middlesex County

Coastal North System Public Water Supply ID No. 1345001

Serving customers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties

  • Aberdeen
  • Allenhurst
  • Asbury Park
  • Bay Head
  • Bradley Beach
  • Brick Township
  • Colts Neck
  • Deal
  • Dover Township
  • Eatontown
  • Elberon
  • Fair Haven
  • Highlands Borough
  • Holmdel
  • Interlaken
  • Lavalette
  • Little Silver
  • Loch Arbor
  • Long Branch
  • Mantaloking
  • Middletown
  • Monmouth Beach
  • Neptune
  • Neptune City
  • Normandy Beach
  • Ocean Grove
  • Oceanport
  • Ocean Township
  • Red Bank
  • Rumson
  • Sea Bright
  • Shrewsbury Borough
  • Shrewsbury Township
  • Tinton Falls
  • Wanamassa
  • West Long Branch

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.

Additional Resources

For more information

Contact New Jersey American Water’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-652-6987.

Dated: March 12, 2009