OWASA Receives Board of Health Recommendation Supporting Fluoridating Drinking Water

The Orange County Health Department Board of Health on March 26, 2020, unanimously approved a recommendation that Orange Water and Sewer Authority continue fluoridating the drinking water across the service area (generally the Carrboro and Chapel Hill communities) at current levels. The recommendation came after the six-member Board of Health ad hoc fluoride committee studied the issue.

OWASA requested the review following an accidental, on-site overfeed of fluoride at its Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in February 2017. The over-fluoridated water was fully contained within the WTP and no drinking water with elevated levels of fluoride entered OWASA’s drinking water distribution system.

The Health Department’s ad hoc committee included medical, toxicology, and dental experts in its review. The experts on the committee addressed concerns raised by the public regarding fluoridating drinking water.

The Board of Health recommendation supports continued fluoridation at current levels “as deemed effective for prevention of tooth decay and for promotion of good oral health.” OWASA fluoridates drinking water at 0.7 parts per million (ppm). The federal limit on fluoride in drinking water is 4 ppm.

The OWASA Board of Directors will receive the Board of Health’s full report as an information item at a future board meeting.

Click to view the full report.