Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. April 5, 2013.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 73.9% of the people in the United States who receive their water from a public water system received fluoridated water (roughly 204.3 million people). One of CDC’s national health goals is to increase the proportion of the U.S. population served by community water systems with “optimally” fluoridated drinking water to 79.6% by 2020. The decision to add fluoride to a water supply is made by local or state governments. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had long recommended an optimal fluoridation level in the range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to prevent tooth decay.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33280.pdf [PDF format, 24 pages].
Congressional Research Service. January 8, 2013.
In the United States, desalination and membrane technologies are increasingly used to augment municipal water supply, to produce high quality industrial water supplies, and to reclaim contaminated supplies (including from oil and gas development). Desalination processes generally treat seawater or brackish water to produce a stream of freshwater, and a separate, saltier stream of water that requires disposal (often called waste concentrate). Wider adoption of desalination is constrained by financial, environmental, and regulatory issues. Emerging technologies (e.g., forward osmosis, nanocomposite and chlorine resistant membranes) show promise for reducing desalination costs. Research to support development of emerging technologies and to reduce desalination’s environmental and social impacts is particularly relevant to the debate on the future level and nature of federal desalination assistance. The federal government generally has been involved primarily in desalination research and development (including for military applications), some demonstration projects, and select full-scale facilities. For the most part, local governments, sometimes with state-level involvement, are responsible for planning, testing, building, and operating desalination facilities. Some states, universities, and private entities also undertake and support desalination research. While interest in desalination persists among some Members, especially with drought concerns high, efforts to maintain or expand federal activities and investment are challenged by the domestic fiscal climate and differing views on federal roles and priorities.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40477.pdf [PDF format, 18 pages].