News Briefs: U.S. Government Lowers Fluoride Recommendation

In water and wastewater news, fluoride recommendations change for the first time in 50 years, Duke Energy dishes out bottled water and biosolids battles continue in British Columbia.
News Briefs: U.S. Government Lowers Fluoride Recommendation

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The Department of Health and Human Services has lowered its fluoride suggestions, recommending that public tap water not exceed .7 ppm. Previous recommendations were for between .7 and 1.2 ppm.

The recommendation was first proposed in 2011, and many large cities have already lowered levels. The DHHS said the change could help prevent fluorosis, which can cause white spots and even brown stains and mottling on teeth. According to a Newsweek article, 41 percent of Americans show some sign of fluorosis.

“While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues,” says Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Dr. Boris Lushniak in an HHS press release. “Community water fluoridation is effective, inexpensive and does not depend on access or availability of professional services. It has been the basis for the primary prevention of tooth decay for nearly 70 years.”

Source: HHS press release, Newsweek

Duke Energy Provides Bottled Water for North Carolina Families

State testing in North Carolina has revealed potentially toxic chemicals in well water around Duke Energy’s coal ash storage areas. In response, the state’s department of environment and natural resources mailed 87 letters to residents living near the sites, recommending that residents do not use well water for cooking or drinking.

Duke Energy claims there’s no proof the contamination is from its sites. The company is investigating where the chemicals are coming from, but in the meantime will supply residents with bottled water.

“We want people to have a peace of mind,” says Duke Energy spokesman Erin Culbert in The Guardian. “We would rather over-prescribe than under-prescribe.”

Because of weak state regulations, Duke Energy has been able to store coal ash in unlined pits near rivers and other water sources. A new state law requires Duke to clean up four ash pits. Duke Energy stores about 120 million tons of coal ash in the state.

Source: The Guardian

Biosolids Blockade Expected In British Columbia

Protests from the First Nations in British Columbia against the use of biosolids are expected to continue, despite a meeting with the government.

The protestors oppose a project to spread biosolids from municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Okanagan Valley, saying the disposal site is too close to streams, drinking water wells and housing developments.

In March, protestors blocked a highway to stop trucks from bringing biosolids to a composting site. The group then moved to the premier’s office for a sit-in, which was followed by a formal meeting.

In the latest development, Lower Nicola Indian Band Chief Aaron Sam said he expects arrests as the protestors continue to block trucks.

Source: The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun



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