Health Effects and Environmental Impact
Beneficial Health Effects
Fluoridation of community drinking water is a major factor in the decline
of tooth decay in the United States. Although other fluoride-containing products are available, water
fluoridation remains the most equitable and cost-effective method of
delivering fluoride to all members of most communities. CDC has recognized community water fluoridation as one of
great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Benefits are provided over a lifetime. The dental health of adults as
well as children is enhanced because of water fluoridation.
Adverse Health Effects
The weight of the peer-reviewed scientific evidence does not support
an association between water fluoridation and any adverse health effect
or systemic disorder, including an increased risk for cancer, Down
syndrome, heart disease, osteoporosis and bone fracture, immune
disorders, low intelligence, renal disorders, Alzheimer disease,
or allergic reactions. Additional information
can be found on the Safety page.
Research findings do not support an association between water fluoridation and
negative health effects on plants and animals.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in virtually all waters. It
is present in seawater at levels between 1.2 to 1.4 mg/L and in surface
waters from 0.1 to over 1.0 mg/L, and can be found in some ground water
over 10 mg/L. Because of the dilution effect of receiving waters
relative to the volume of treated wastewater, a river’s fluoride
concentration will be measured at the same level upstream and downstream
of a fluoridated community.
Additives used for community water fluoridation are
closely regulated and monitored.
Water Fluoridation and the Environment
Pollick H. Int J Occup Environ Health, 2004;10:343–350.
Can Fluoridation Affect Lead in
Potable Water? (PDF–596KB)
Urbansky ET, Schock MR. Int J Environ Studies
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last reviewed: August 24, 2009
Page last modified: August 24, 2009
Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and