SAMMAMISH — Despite the gnashing of teeth by fluoride opponents, the tooth-decay-fighting compound will be added to this community’s well water sometime next year now that Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District commissioners have given the go-ahead.
They had little choice, the district’s manager, Ron Little, said yesterday.
The water-thin Sammamish district has become a member of the suburban Cascade Water Alliance and soon will be receiving fluoridated Seattle water to bolster its supply.
“We could have decided to take (the fluoride) out,” he said, “but that is very expensive — something like $25 million. Or we could have just let Seattle’s water be diluted” by Sammamish’s well water.
“But we decided to start fluoridating ourselves to maintain that 1-part per million concentration which is deemed to be beneficial.”
The commissioners’ decision, made in a 3-1 vote, heartened the Washington State Dental Association, whose members earlier this month had testified about fluoride’s benefits in curbing tooth decay, principally in children.
In a statement from the association, Issaquah dentist Barry Feder said, “This is a real victory for the kids.”
Rodney Wentworth, a Bellevue dentist and Sammamish resident, extolled fluoride’s virtue by saying it also “plays a role in preventing cavities in the roots of teeth as we age.”
Fluoride opponent Linda Joy, who campaigned against the additive, was not happy with the commissioners’ decision.
“We do have materials that say there are health risks (to fluoridated water), and I think around the first of the year we’ll be gathering people who’d like to keep (the anti-fluoride campaign) alive.”
The district is to study ways to provide unfluoridated water to customers who won’t want fluoride in their drinking water.