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      Concerns about fluoride in water arise in Columbia

      COLUMBIA, Mo -- We drink it everyday in some form or another, but do we really know what's in our water? According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, one Columbia woman, Amy Bremer, is concerned about the city's addition of fluoride in the water, saying that it has the potential to reduce bone-mineral density and cause birth defects.But dentists contend it does the opposite. "When fluoride in the water is at an optimal level, it helps prevent decay, helps strengthen teeth and bones by consuming the tap water basically," said Dr. Johnathan Mallott of Keene Dental Care in Columbia. Officials at the Columbia Water and Light Department say by adding the fluoride to the water, they are simply following the recommendations of the EPA and the US Health and Human Services Department. Plus, they say some fluoride is already in the water without their addition. "In this area we see a lot of naturally occurring fluoride,?? said spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz. ??So there's 0.3 milligrams per liter that's naturally occurring in our water, and then we add more fluoride to bring it up to 0.7 milligrams per liter, so it's a very small amount, and that's right within the guidelines of the US government." Dr. Mallott says that those recommendations fall in line with the scientific research. "Most of the studies that are done in the United States show that fluoride, at the correct levels, which is less that 1.2 parts per million, is very safe." Sixth ward councilwoman Barbara Hoppe asked the city staff to look into the facts on fluoride and make a report to the council, which they plan to discuss in further meetings