A proposal facing the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority would add supplemental fluoride back into drinking water.
Albuquerque voters approved fluoridation of drinking water in the early 1970s. The Water Authority stopped adding it in 2011, while the federal government looked into changing the recommendations for how much fluoride is healthy.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control said the optimal level is 0.7 mg/L. The water quality results for 2016 show the city-wide average amount of fluoride in the water is currently 0.4 mg/L.
Water authority board members are scheduled to vote on Aug. 23. There will be time for public comment. The board has heard from supporters and opponents in the past, with most dental experts siding with the CDC’s recommendation.
“While I’m not an expert on fluoride, I am going to follow what the expert evidence does show, and it does show that it’s an improvement for people,” said Dr. Tom Schripsema, executive director of the New Mexico Dental Association.
Opponents have argued that the benefits are only topical, and do not apply when the water is ingested, a stance that Schripsema opposes.
“In fact,” he said, “the greatest value is when infants, young people and others that are pregnant have it to incorporate.”
Those against adding fluoride to drinking water also say it can cause dental fluorosis, which Schripsema says is damaging to the surface of teeth.
“It takes an awful lot too much in order to cause that kind of a problem,” he said.
The fluoride would be added at the San Juan-Chama drinking water plant. The new facilities would cost about $260,000. Annual operation and maintenance costs are estimated at $270,000 per year.
The Aug. 23 meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers in the basement of the City/County Government Center at 1 Civic Plaza.
*Original broadcast and article online at http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-bernalillo-county-water-utility-authority-fluoride/4559500/