Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

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 10 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.

Environmental Impact

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.

Additional Resources

Water Fluoridation and the Environment [PDF–130KB]
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 2000;57(5):597–637.

 Top of Page