80 American Dental Association recommended level of fluoride in drinking water flows through the water system while maintaining water operator safety. In the case of fluoride, the potential hazards faced by a water facility employee in dealing with concentrated fluoride additives before they enter the water system are not related to the level of fluoride in water as used by consumers. The information found in the SDS for fluoride additives is not applicable to water with fluoride at the recommended level. Therefore, SDS sheets should not be used by consumers to gauge potential hazards of community water fluoridation. As part of safety procedures, water facility personnel receive training on the management of the additives in water plants. While the recommended fluoride level found in drinking water has been proven safe, water facility operators and engineers may be exposed to much higher fluoride levels when handling fluoride additives at the water treatment facility.4 Fluoride additives present risks comparable to other water additives in common use at water facilities, such as hypochlorite, quicklime, aluminum sulfate, sodium hydroxide and ferrous sulfate. In some cases, the fluoride additives are much less dangerous than many other additives, including chlorine gas commonly used in many water plants.39 Today’s equipment allows water facility personnel to easily monitor and maintain the desired fluoride concentration. Automatic monitoring technology is also available that can help to ensure that the fluoride concentration of the water remains within the recommended range.4 It is important that the water facility personnel responsible for monitoring the addition of fluoride to the water supply are appropriately trained and that the equipment used for this process is adequately maintained.4 With over 70 years of experience and thousands of water systems adding fluoride every day, water facility personnel have an excellent safety record related not only to their personal safety but in providing safe drinking water to their customers. 53. Does fluoridation present difficult engineering problems? Answer. No. Adding fluoride products to water is no different than adding other commonly used water treatment additive products using the same equipment and techniques. Fact. Fluoride additives used to adjust the fluoride level in drinking water are compatible with other water treatment processes often using the same type of equipment and other standard materials designed for the safe handling of other water treatment additive products in drinking water treatment facilities. Fluoride additives are introduced to the water supply as liquids. There are many control devices, some in use for decades and some newer equipment, that allow water facility personnel to easily monitor and maintain the desired fluoride level as well as levels of other water treatment additives and naturally occurring substances that may be in the water. Automatic monitoring technology is available that can help to ensure that the fluoride concentration of the water remains within the recommended range.4 When added to community water supplies, the concentrated fluoride additives become greatly diluted. For example, typically fluorosilicic acid is diluted approximately 315,000 times to reach the recommended target concentration of 0.7 mg/L. The exact dilution factor depends on the concentration of the fluoride additive and the amount of additive being used to reach the concentration of 0.7mg/L. At 0.7mg/L (or 0.7 parts per million), seven-tenths of one part of fluoride is diluted in is diluted in 999,999.3 parts of water. To place this concentration in perspective, the following comparisons can be of assistance. 1 inch in approximately 23 miles 1 minute in approximately 1,000 days 1 cent in approximately $14,000 1 seat in more than 34 Wrigley Field baseball parks (seating capacity 41,268) With more than 70 years of experience with water fluoridation, there is considerable guidance on sound engineering practices to design, construct, operate and maintain water fluoridation systems. By design, and with proper maintenance and testing, water
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