Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Article excerpt

Bottled Water Warning

Families that switch to bottled drinking water might be increasing their children's risk of tooth decay, health experts say.

That's because bottled water usually lacks fluoride - the compound added by most municipal water systems to protect teeth.

But there is a simple solution. If your water lacks fluoride, you can get fluoride supplements to protect your family's teeth.

The average person should get about 1 milliliter (1 part per million) of fluoride each day for proper dental protection, experts say.

The International Bottled Water Association says demand for bottled water nationwide has leaped 200 percent in the last decade - outpacing the growth of any other beverage. Americans drank more than 2 billion gallons in 1992.

Industry officials say the growth is occurring because many families like the taste of bottled water, want more healthful beverages and don't trust the quality of tap water.

But children in those families might not be getting enough fluoride, says Dr. Jackie Banahan, a pediatric dentist in Lexington, Ky. Children are especially susceptible because their teeth are still growing, she said.

Lisa Prats, a spokeswoman for the International Bottled Water Association, says the group recommends that bottled water users check with their dentists or doctors about their fluoride needs. Knight-Ridder Newspapers

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Purging The Spurge

U.S. government researchers are going to Russia with weeds in hopes of finding a pest that will kill them.

That's because the weed, the leafy spurge, originated in the Caucasus area. The weed invaded the United States early this century and now infests about 5 million acres in the Northern Plains states, the Agriculture Department says.

Tony Caesar, a scientist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service, hopes to find out if fungi or other disease organisms that hold the leafy spurge's Eurasian relatives in check will kill the American weed.

The experiment is one of several efforts by the department to find alternatives to expensive and potentially harmful pesticides. …

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