November 9, 2007
By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney
You asked for Connecticut law on water fluoridation.
Most water supplies contain trace amounts of fluoride. Water systems are considered naturally fluoridated when the natural level of fluoride is greater than 0.7 parts per million (ppm). When a water system adjusts the level of fluoride to 0.7 to 1.2 ppm, it is referred to as community water fluoridation. Today, approximately 67.3 % of the U.S. population whose water comes from public water supplies (about 170 million people) has access to fluoridated water. In Connecticut, that figure is 87.6%, which ranks it 16th in the nation (see attached “Connecticut Fluoridation Populations”).
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water fluoridation prevents tooth decay in two ways: (1) primarily through direct contact with teeth throughout life and (2) when consumed by children during the tooth forming years. Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community.
Other sources of fluoride are available. It can be applied directly to teeth through toothpaste, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments in dental offices.
A Connecticut statute, passed in 1965, provides that whenever the fluoride content of public water supplies serving 20,000 or more people is less than 0.8 of a milligram per liter (mg/L), the person, firm, corporation, or municipality having jurisdiction over the supply must add a measured amount of fluoride to the water so as to maintain a fluoride content of between 0.8 mg/L and 1.2 mg/L (CGS § 19a-38). (While not identical, 1 mg/L is, loosely speaking, 1 ppm.)
A DPH publication, Water Fluoridation in Connecticut: A Resource Guide for Potable Water Production Facility Operators, states that for Connecticut, “the most benefit to oral health is achieved when waters are fluoridated to 1.0 mg/L. Optimal fluoridation is achieved when the fluoride level in potable water is maintained in the control range of 0.8 to 1.2 mg/L” (see attached).
There are also references to fluoride in the Public Health Code (Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations) concerning the testing of the quality of public drinking water for inorganic chemical levels (see DPH Regs., § 19-13-B102).
The following sources provide more information on fluoridation.