Linden — The city of Linden might stop adding fluoride to municipal water. Linden City Council discussed the topic during its Tuesday, Oct. 11 meeting.
?Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral present in the city’s well water. The city currently has an average of 0.5 ppm of naturally occurring fluoride from the wells without any additional supplementation, according to a letter from City Manager Ellen Glass and Public Works Director Don Grice.
?“This naturally occurring amount brings us to within 0.2 ppm of the maximum level allowed by current standards, which further negates the need for additional supplementation,” according to the letter. “Because of the level of naturally occurring fluoride in our water system and with the increased availability of fluoride for consumers, the Department of Public Works is requesting that Chapter 51: Section 51.02 of the Linden Code of Ordinances be rescinded.”
?The annual cost of Linden’s fluoridation program is approximately $6,000 – $8,000.
?According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water systems are considered naturally fluoridated when the natural level of fluoride is greater than 0.7 milligrams per liter (mg/L). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 66% of the U.S. residents who receive their water from community water systems, which is approximately 170 million people, have access to fluoridated water.
The CDC recommends 0.7mg/L in the drinking water. The maximum containment level (MCL) is 4.0mg/L, which is the maximum concentration the water can contain, Grice said. The city does not want that much fluoride in the water. In 2022, they have averaged a residual of 0.63mg/L prior to treatment and they averaged 0.94 mg/L after treatment at the plant. The average residual in the distribution system was 0.95 mg/L, Grice said.
“By feeding only ¼ pound a day or so we are increasing the Fluoride level by 0.31 mg/L. Not a lot by any means,” he said.
?For more than 80 years, municipalities have been adding fluoride to public water supply systems to help prevent tooth decay. Grice said Grand Rapids was the first community to add fluoride to the municipal water system to help prevent tooth decay.
?“Instituted at a time when tooth decay was a significant issue in the general population, the process provided a substantial benefit to the consumers,” according to the letter. “Since that time, fluoride has become readily available in many products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, various drinks, and supplements.”
?Due to the increased access to this mineral, Grice recommends discontinuing the practice.
?“In my time here, I’ve already had a couple calls from people that ask if we add fluoride, and they asked if we would quit adding fluoride. There’s some controversy associated with adding fluoride,” he said.
?One benefit to discontinuing the program is that because they do add fluoride, Grice said, the state of Michigan requires Linden to monitor the water seven days a week and they could reduce that to five days a week.
?“If you get too much fluoride, just like any chemical, it can have negative effects,” Grice said.
?Councilor Brad Dick said prior to this meeting, a dentist sent them information on the negative effects of having too much fluoride in water.
?Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, according to the American Dental Association. This condition is also known as mottled teeth. It occurs when children consume too much fluoride when their teeth are developing. They may develop streaks, spots or pits on the surfaces of teeth. In severe cases, fluorosis can cause brown, black or gray spots and the teeth may become pitted.
?Linden City Council is expected to vote on this during the Monday, Oct. 24 meeting.
?The city ordinance section 51.02 Fluoridation reads, “The City Council is authorized and directed to institute fluoridation of the water supply of the city to equal one part of fluoride to every 1,000,000 parts of water and to do all things necessary to carry out this directive.”
*Original full-text article online at: https://www.tctimes.com/news/linden-could-stop-adding-fluoride-to-water/article_e31b7ecc-4bfd-11ed-ba7d-af8ea3af6d8f.html