By Simon J. Taylor BBC News – U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered an emergency review of the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance that encourages children to consume more fluoride and other minerals.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has advised that kids can take fewer than 1,000 milligrams of fluoride a day, a reduction of about 80% compared with levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But it also advises that children should take more than 1.5 milligram a day of calcium, about one third of what is recommended by doctors.
“The EPA’s new guidance does not address the fact that too much calcium in the diet can increase the risk of dental disease,” said the American Dental Association, which supports the USFDA’s recommendations.
“We believe that the new guidance is misguided, ineffective and could actually increase the risks of dental fluorosis and cavities,” the group said in a statement.
“Fluoride has been shown to increase tooth decay and can increase cavities, so this recommendation is clearly not necessary,” said Nancy Krumholz, director of the Center for Healthy Dentistry at Washington University in St Louis.
“In fact, it’s quite contrary to the recommendations of the CDC and the US National Institutes of Health.”
It was the first time in the agency’s history that it would issue an emergency regulatory guidance.
The move came after a study found that fluoride in drinking water has not been linked to cavities.
“This is the first emergency FDA guidance that addresses the question of whether fluoride in fluoridated drinking water can increase dental fluorosity,” said Dr Michael Pfleger, director at the Center on Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“That is the most important finding.”
He added that he was not aware of any research that showed that children are not getting enough fluoride.
“I’m concerned about the lack of research on this issue,” he said.
In a statement, the US Environmental Protections Agency said: “EPA’s recommendation to lower fluoride levels in drinking tap water has been in place for more than 20 years.
EPA has also recommended that children and adults take less than 1mg of fluoride per day for the prevention of tooth decay.”
Dr KrumHolz said the agency needed to focus on the importance of taking more than one teaspoon a day.
“If we are going to lower the levels of fluoride, the first step is to get the recommended amount of fluoride in our drinking water, and then to get our children and our adults to take less,” she said.
“There’s no need to go all the way to the extreme, and that’s what they’ve been doing.”
The FDA said it would continue to monitor the situation.
“Safety is our number one priority, and we are closely monitoring the ongoing issue of fluoride levels,” the agency said.
“We are also committed to ensuring that our water systems are safe and effective, which includes maintaining a water fluoridation level below the federal safe drinking water standard of 0.8 parts per billion.”
The USFDFDA recommends that children over the age of two take no more than 0.5 mg of fluoride for children aged two to 14, and no more as high as 0.9mg.