McMurray, Pa. (May 27, 2011) - Pennsylvania American Water announced today that it has reduced the level of fluoride in the drinking water supplied to its Indiana County customers. The change is based on recommendations issued January 7, 2011, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"After evaluating the latest research behind the agencies' recommendations, we contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to request permission to reduce the fluoride level, and DEP granted our request," said Paul Zielinski, senior director of water quality and environmental compliance, Pennsylvania American Water.
Zielinski said the target level for the Indiana system is now 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter (mg/L) of water, as recommended by HHS and EPA. Previously, the target level was set at 1.0 mg/L. Pennsylvania American Water serves more than 7,300 customers in the Borough of Indiana and portions of Armstrong and White Township
In January, federal officials issued new recommendations "based on recent EPA and HHS scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted health effects. These scientific assessments will also guide EPA in making a determination of whether to lower the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water, which is set to prevent adverse health effects."
Zielinski said, "Protecting the public health is a responsibility that we take seriously, so we took proactive steps and are advising customers of the change with printed inserts in their water bills."
He added that Pennsylvania American Water is neutral on the issue of fluoridation of drinking water supplies. The company's position is to abide by the wishes of the communities it serves regarding whether fluoride is added to the water supply. If residents have additional questions about fluoride, the company recommends that they consult their dentist or physician.
Pennsylvania American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.2 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.
In 2011, American Water is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a yearlong campaign to promote water efficiency and the importance of protecting water from source to tap. To learn more, visit www.amwater125.com.