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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Policy on Fluoride in Drinking Water

The Sierra Club recommends lowering the maximum contaminant level of fluoride in drinking water from the present 4mg/L to a level shown not to harm aquatic ecosystems or human health. [National Research Council, Fluoride in Drinking Water: a Scientific Review of EPA's Standards, March 2006]

The Sierra Club understands the historic reason that fluoridation of public water supplies has been promoted and that it may have been historically justifiable (162 million people get fluoride added to their municipal water supply at the recommended level of 0.7-1.2 mg/L). There are now, however, valid concerns regarding the potential adverse impact of fluoridation on the environment, wildlife, and human health.

Therefore, the Sierra Club believes that communities should have the option to reject mandatory fluoridation of their water supplies.

To protect sensitive populations, and because safer strategies and methods for preventing tooth decay are now available, we recommend that these safer alternatives be made available and promoted. If fluoride is added to municipal water supplies, sodium fluoride rather than flourosilicate compounds should be used because the latter has a greater risk of being contaminated with such heavy metals as lead and arsenic.

Before a water supply is fluoridated, there should be a local assessment of the impact on affected aquatic ecosystems. This assessment should examine background fluoride levels and estimate what the levels will be after fluoridation. It should also assess the effect of this increased fluoride on downstream aquatic ecosystems.

Board of Directors, June 19, 2008


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