August 5: Does the FDA regulate the use of fluoride in drinking water? Does a municipality which is adding fluoride to the drinking water need any special application, exemption or waiver to carry out the process of fluoridation in a drinking water system?

CDER Director's Mailbag

The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act gave regulatory oversight of public drinking water (tap water) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). FDA has responsibility for ensuring that the quality standards for bottled water are compatible with EPA standards for tap water. According to the EPA, fluoride is voluntarily added to some drinking water systems as a public health measure to help reduce the incidence of cavities among the population. The decision to fluoridate a water supply is made by the State or local municipality, and is not mandated by EPA or any other Federal entity.

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