As construction for a water treatment plant in Rifle continues, medical experts are asking the city to consider adding fluoride to its water. Those in favor of the substance say it would reduce the number of dental problems that children have in the Rifle area.
The mayor of Rifle says there hasn’t been any fluoride in the water since 2005. Now ten years later, one pediatrician believes the children in the area are feeling the effects.
“I think it’s a really good idea. I would definitely be pro fluoride in the water. It’s good for our teeth. Especially for children,” says Rifle resident, Claire Dewey.
Dewey is in favor of adding fluoride to the city’s new water treatment plant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking water with the right amount of fluoride keeps the tooth surface strong and prevents tooth decay – without it in the water; one rifle pediatrician has noticed how it’s affecting kids in the community.
“Over this year I’ve noticed that the kids in Rifle have a lot more dental problems than the kids in Glenwood Springs, and one of those reasons is that they don’t fluoridate the water in Rifle,” said Dr. Colby Quintenz.
Dr. Quintenz says fluoride is naturally found in water sources such as the Colorado River.
“When you’re making a decision about fluoride in the water, you’re really not making a decision about having it or not having it. You’re making a decision to have it at a level where it’s really beneficial to people’s teeth” said Quintenz.
The Rifle City Council recently heard a presentation by Dr. Quintenz on the health benefits to having fluoride in their water.
“The council hasn’t taken a position either way. We’re looking at both sides, and we have directed the engineers to do a class analysis to see what it would cost to put in,” said Mayor Randy Winkler.
There are still 1 to 2 years left to finish the construction of the new water plant.
“We just think it should be a choice of the voters, I think it will go to a vote after our plant is operational,” said Winkler.
The mayor says not everyone in Rifle wants fluoride in their water. “From the communist plot to it’s poison, that’s a whole ride range of things,” says Winkler about those are against adding the substance.
Dr. Quintenz believes that if people know the facts on fluoridation, then it will be an easy win. She says you have to drink 25 gallons of water a day in order to get a bad level of fluoride.
Community water fluoridation is on the CDC’s list of the ten greatest public health’s achievement of the 20th century.
Mayor Winkler says they are still listening to both sides, but will most likely put the issue on the 2016 ballot.