Jan 12, 2012

American Water Lowers Fluoride Level in Kittanning, Pa., Water System

Water utility implements changes based on recent U.S. government scientific research

Pennsylvania American Water announced it has reduced fluoride levels in the drinking water supplied to its customers in Kittanning, Pa. The change is based on recommendations issued previously by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"After evaluating the latest research behind the agencies' recommendations, we contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to request permission to reduce the fluoride level and DEP granted our request," said Paul Zielinski, senior director of water quality and environmental compliance with Pennsylvania American Water.

Zielinski said the target level for systems is now 0.7 mg of fluoride per liter of water as recommended by HHS and EPA. The previous target level was set at 1 mg/L. Pennsylvania American Water serves more than 2,000 customers in the borough of Kittanning, Applewold and portions of Manor and Rayburn Townships.

In January 2011, federal officials issued new recommendations "based on recent EPA and HHS scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted health effects. These scientific assessments will also guide EPA in making a determination of whether to lower the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water, which is set to prevent adverse health effects."

Zielinski added that Pennsylvania American Water is neutral on the issue of fluoridation of drinking water supplies. The company's position is to abide by the wishes of the communities it serves regarding whether fluoride is added to the water supply. If residents have additional questions about fluoride, the company recommends they consult their dentist or physician.