Caption under photo at top of page, Shiloh Thompson, lead plant operator of the Loveland Water Treatment Plant, looks through a window into the fluorosilicic acid room at the plant as he talks Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, about how they use fluoride in the water treatment process. (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Recently the Reporter-Herald published two letters questioning the safety and efficacy of community water fluoridation. As the city’s director of Water and Power, I wanted to reply to these letters describing the due diligence conducted for our resident’s health, safety, and well-being on this important public health benefit.
At the October 2020 City Council meeting, following a public comment regarding fluoridation, the council directed the Loveland Utilities Commission (LUC) to hold a hearing on the topic. That hearing occurred at the March 24, 2021 LUC meeting where opponents and supporters presented their respective positions regarding community water fluoridation.
Before detailing the results of that meeting, a little background on Loveland Water and Power’s fluoride application.
The Chasteen’s Grove Water Treatment Plant augments the naturally occurring fluoride level of 0.2 mg/L (0.2 parts per million) to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommended fluoride concentration of 0.7 mg/L.
The American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Water Works Association and the American Public Health Association, among over a hundred nationally and internationally recognized health and scientific organizations, endorse the practice of community water fluoridation as effective and safe. In October 2020, the CDPHE Oral Health Unit awarded the city of Loveland the 2019 CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Water Fluoridation Quality Award and the 2019 Colorado Water Fluoridation Excellence Award.
The CDC named community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Department staff received dozens of emails from local dental health professionals, the Colorado Dental Association, the CDC, the Institute for Science in Medicine, the Center for Health Progress and More, and the Larimer County Dental Society supporting community water fluoridation.
At the March 24 LUC meeting, community water fluoridation opponents included:
- Traudl Renner and Kathryn Johnson – Loveland residents
- Chris Neurath and Rick North – Fluoride Action Network
Community water fluoridation supporters included:
- Chris Manley (Environmental Health Director Larimer County Health Department)
- William Bailey, DDS, MPH (University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Center)
- Patricia Braun, MD, MPH (University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Center)
- Katya Mauritson, DMD (Dental Director, CDPHE)
- Eric France, MD, MSPH, MBA (Chief Medical Officer, CDPHE)
The above health professionals provided background on community water fluoridation, how fluoridation works, and highlighted its dental and overall health benefits. Other panelists described how dental issues could lead to more severe health impacts.
The panel refuted all of the adverse health impacts raised by fluoridation opponents including possibly the most serious assertion regarding neurotoxicity and children’s IQ.
Of particular importance is the positive impact of community water fluoridation on children, especially those in disadvantaged communities that may not receive routine dental care or any dental care at all.
Despite the claims of those individuals opposing community water fluoridation, the dental and medical professionals stated that there is no new scientific evidence that this practice is unsafe. They strongly supported its continuation in the city of Loveland.
Finally, all additives used to treat drinking water, including the additive used to supply fluoride, must be NSF/ANSI 60 approved.
Following the presentations, the LUC voted unanimously to direct Water and Power Department staff to advise the Loveland City Council that the Loveland Utilities Commission recommends no alteration to the city of Loveland’s fluoridation protocols for municipal water supply service, which conform to Colorado Department of Health and Environment recommendations.
Subsequently, I provided a memorandum to City Council summarizing the meeting process, panel members, presentation content, and the LUC’s unanimous vote supporting continuation of community water fluoridation. The City Council appreciated the response and are satisfied with the information provided.
As the director of Water and Power, I strongly support community water fluoridation. Department staff continuously review new research studies on every aspect of drinking water treatment, including fluoridation. Over the past 70-plus years, peer-reviewed scientific studies consistently support community water fluoridation and dispute claims of any adverse impacts to public health.
Fluoridation provides a simple, safe, and cost-effective means of supporting good dental health in both children and adults.
Joseph J. Bernosky, P.E. is the director of Water and Power for the city of Loveland. He is a licensed engineer in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Texas.
*Original article online at https://www.reporterherald.com/2021/06/12/city-of-loveland-has-studied-fluoridation-benefits-concerns/