The current enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride is 4.0 mg/L. This is the maximum amount that is allowed in water from public water systems, also called the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). The MCL is set to be as close to the public health goal as EPA finds may be achieved with the use of the best available technology, taking cost into consideration. The public health goal, called a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), is not enforceable and is based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime. For fluoride, analytical methods or treatment technology do not pose any limitation so the MCL currently equals the MCLG of 4.0.
A secondary standard is a non-enforceable guideline to regulate contaminants that may cause cosmetic effects (such as skin or tooth discoloration) or aesthetic effects (such as taste, odor, or color of drinking water). EPA recommends secondary standards to water systems but does not require systems to comply. For fluoride, the secondary standard is 2.0 mg/L.
What are the drinking water standards for fluoride? What do you mean by an MCL, an MCLG, and a secondary standard for fluoride? What is the difference?
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