On January 7, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the main federal office charged with ensuring the nations health, issued a statement suggesting that the current concentration of fluoride in tap water may be too high.

For more than five decades, local water authorities have been encouraged to add fluoride ions to drinking water, but now, based on new science, these recommendations will be changed.  It seems that US citizens have been ingesting too much fluoride, the most electronegative ion found on the periodic table (remember high school or college chemistry?)

Fluorosis, which is the name for the condition manifested from the ingestion of too much fluoride, causes splotches on children’s teeth and potentially much more serious problems down the road such as brittle bones and fractures.

The idea of adding fluoride to drinking water was to prevent tooth decay because of the hard and insoluble calcium fluoride that is produced upon ingestion, essentially making the teeth more difficult to harbor cavity-causing bacteria.  The new levels that are recommended will still offer this benefit, but hopefully will do away with the side effects.