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Does Tulsa’s Water Have Fluoride?

Tulsa Water Treatment Worker Inspecting Drinking WaterThe City of Tulsa has added fluoride to its water supply since 1953. According to City Ordinance (Title 11-C, Chapter 1, Section 103), fluoridation is instituted at a maximum content of 0.7 parts per million (milligrams per liter), which is the DHHS and EPA recommendation.

Fluoridation Background

Almost all water contains fluoride naturally, but at very low levels. In the early 1900s, scientists noticed that children in the Pikes Peak area had stained and pitted teeth, but fewer cavities than children in different regions. Studies in the 1930s discovered that Pikes Peak’s rock formations contained a mineral with fluorine that was being washed into the region’s water supply from the rain and snow. Researchers began experimenting with fluoride concentration in drinking water, and by 1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to intentionally add fluoride to the community’s drinking water to combat tooth decay and benefit dental health.

Fluoridation Adoption

Grand Rapids saw a dramatic decline in child tooth decay just six years later, and fluoridation became an official policy of the US Public Health Service in 1951. The US quickly implemented the new policy and an estimated 50 million Americans had access to fluoridated water by the 1960s. In 1962, the US Public Health Service recommended community water systems contain a fluoridation range of 0.7 - 1.2 parts per million (milligrams per liter). This remained the recommendation for almost 50 years until the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency recognized that other sources of fluoride are readily accessible and adjusted the recommended level to only 0.7 parts per million in 2011.

Tulsa Fluoridation Treatment

Most of Tulsa’s water comes from Lake Eucha, Lake Oologah, and Lake Spavinaw. As the water is pumped to the treatment plant, fine screens filter out any debris before the flocculation process. Chemicals are then mixed to remove impurities and disinfect as the water moves to the settling basins. After almost all particles have been removed, the water moves through carbon and sand filters to remove any naturally-occurring tastes and odors. At this time, fluoride is added along with a small amount of chlorine as the water flows into underground storage tanks until it’s pumped into the distribution system. (See the full treatment process at cityoftulsa.org)

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Raby Plumbing does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.

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