Colorado’s largest supplier of public drinking water in Denver is in the middle of a debate over how much fluoride – if any – should be put into its delivery system after the federal government announced new standards in April. One city in the Western Slope is still debating whether or not to add it to it’s water.
In some cases, fluoridation opponents are adding pressure, claiming that it damages teeth and bones, while supporters say it improves oral health.
Three out of the four domestic water providers in the Grand Valley – Clifton, Grand Junction, and Ute – have been adding the mineral for several decades. As of now, there are no plans of changing that.
“I feel as long as it’s safe in our community and our kiddos are safe, I feel it’s ok,” said Grand Junction resident, Amy Martinez.
For many residents, learning that fluoride has been in their water for more than 50 years didn’t seem to bother them. This week, Governor Hickenlooper released a statement in support of fluoridation being a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of improving the oral health of Coloradans.
“We’re really pleased with the recent statement by the governor’s office about the support of fluoride in our local systems. It directly aligns with how we are currently administering fluoride and so it just reassures us and our community that we’re doing the right thing,” said Joseph Burtard, with the Ute Water Conservancy District.
Burtard says consumers should know they are constantly monitoring the levels of fluoride. “Currently, Ute Water Conservancy District administers fluoride at the national and state recommendations of .7 milligrams per liter.”
“It’s very important for them to keep checking the levels. I feel that’s probably the most important part of it all, is just to make sure our kids are safe, our community, our elders, everybody is safe,” adds Martinez.
Burtard says another plus of having the mineral in our water is its low cost. “The cost of administering fluoride into our system is about .07 to .08 cents per thousand gallons.”
Palisade is the only district in the Grand Valley that does not add fluoride to their water. Frank Watt, Palisade’s Public Works Director says he decided to remove fluoride in 2012 because he doesn’t believe it makes the water safer or cleaner.
In Garfield County, the city of Rifle is in the middle of constructing a new water treatment plant. Once it’s complete, Mayor Randy Winkler says they will do a study to figure out the costs of adding fluoride to the water. Then, they will let voters decide whether or not to fluoridate the water in the summer of 2016.