December 16, 2014
From Loveland to Montrose, and Breckenridge in between, several communities across Colorado have been dealing with fluoridation issues. The good news: Loveland has decided to continue fluoridating its water and to increase fluoride levels. The bad news: Montrose, Delta and neighboring communities still are without optimal fluoride in their drinking water.
Loveland’s decision came after a public comment and review process, and a subsequent recommendation by the city’s Utilities Commission to increase its fluoride levels. Colorado Dental Association Executive Director Greg Hill and local dentists provided comment at a public hearing held in September.
Loveland water managers had removed fluoride from the city’s supply for two years during maintenance at the treatment facility, and then returned fluoride in 2013 at a lower level. In early December, the city’s utilities manager announced a 30% bump in fluoride to 0.9 milligrams per liter—in line with Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for optimal levels. The city’s fluoride history dates back to 1952 when the city council decided that its water should have “proper amounts as recommended by health and dental authorities.” Thankfully, the city has listened to the dental and public health experts on this issue.
Across the state, the Project 7 Water Authority Board, which provides drinking water to Montrose, Delta, Olathe and the rural areas of the Uncompahgre River Valley, decided in July to discontinue fluoridating because the specific type of additive used for Project 7’s water is only available from China. The authority’s board and management had significant concerns about the safety and quality of the Chinese-made additive.
More than 30 local dentists, hygienists, physicians and healthcare providers attended the authority’s October board meeting and provided public comment about the health benefits of fluoride and the consequences to the community of not fluoridating. The board instructed the authority’s manager to research potential new sources of fluoride additive and to assess switching how the system adds fluoride to its water. The next meeting is set for Jan. 22, and the CDA and local dentists will attend to work with the authority on returning optimal fluoride levels to the community’s water.
Lastly, Breckenridge Town Council members met in early December and heard from six community members opposed to fluoridating the ski town’s water. Council members each received binders from the group with anti-fluoridation information. Breckenridge mayor, and local dentist, Dr. John Warner cautioned fellow council members to know that there is another side to this issue and to understand the science behind fluoridation and the significant public health benefits. A group called Fluoride Free Breckenridge is assembling a following in the town, and the council will be addressing the issue in 2015.
The CDA will stay engaged in these and other local fluoride issues across Colorado. If you live in a community that is concerned about fluoridation, please contact Molly Pereira at the CDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-996-2844.