Wednesday, 1 February 2006

Fluoride in Drinking-Water By J. Fawell, K. Bailey, J. Chilton, E. Dahi, L. Fewtrell and Y. Magara

The first WHO publication dealing specifically with drinking-water quality was published in 1958 as International Standards for Drinking-water (WHO, 1958). It was subsequently revised in 1963 and in 1971 under the same title (WHO, 1963, 1971). In 1984–85, the first edition of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality was published. The philosophy and content of the Guidelines constituted a significant departure from the previous International Standards. The basic premise of the Guidelines was that they are not standards as such, but should be used as a basis for setting national or regional standards taking into account local social, cultural, environmental and economic considerations.
In 1989, work was started on a second edition of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) which was published in three volumes: Volume 1 Recommendations (WHO, 1993), Volume 2 Health Criteria and Other Supporting Information (WHO, 1996) and Volume 3 Surveillance and Control of
Community Supplies (WHO, 1997) with Addenda published in 1998 and 2002 (WHO, 1998, 2002). A fully revised edition of Volume 1 Recommendations was published in 2004 (WHO, 2004). The primary aim of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality is the protection of public health. The GDWQ provide an assessment of the health risk presented by micro-organisms and chemicals present in drinking-water. This assessment can then be applied to the development and implementation of national standards for drinking-water quality. In addition, in response to demands from Member States, the Guidelines have always included guidance material concerning specific problems related to small community supplies.

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