Cities use different forms of tooth-decay-fighting element, staff says
Loveland’s water will remain fluoridated at the federally recommended rate of 0.7 milligrams per liter, despite a shortage of the water treatment chemical sodium fluorosilicate.
While Longmont, Greeley, Denver and other Front Range communities rely on the compound to fluoridate their water supplies, Loveland uses a less scarce form of the element, city staff say.
“There’s three or four chemical compounds that can be used to fluoridate water,” Loveland Water and Power Director Joe Bernosky said. “We happen to use fluorosilicic acid.”
Loveland water utilities manager Roger Berg confirmed that the city has not been warned of any impending shortages of fluorosilicic acid by its supplier, DuBois Chemicals.
Bob Allen — Longmont’s director of operations, public works and natural resources — told the Longmont Times-Call recently that the city ceased fluoridating its water supply about a month ago.
He said the fluoride shortage was caused by the recent closure of America’s last sodium fluoride mine. While Longmont is exploring other sources for the chemical, for now, the city’s water contains only naturally occurring fluoride at a concentration of 0.2 mg/L.
“As far as we know, everyone with dry supplies has been having challenges,” Allen said.
Allen said retrofitting Longmont’s water treatment system to use fluorosilicic acid would be prohibitively expensive. Sodium fluorosilicate, which is stored as a solid, may be derived from the additional processing of fluorosilicic acid, which is stored as a liquid. The processed form poses less of a health hazard than the acid.
Loveland’s drinking water is carried in the Big Thompson River, which has a naturally occurring fluoride concentration of 0.2 mg/L. The city adds 0.5 mg of fluoride to every liter of water it processes, bringing local drinking water into line with the United States Public Health Service’s recommended fluoride concentration of 0.7 mg/L.
In 2015, the PHS lowered their recommended concentration of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 mg/L from a range of 0.7 mg/L to 1.2 mg/L, in part to account for the prevalence of fluoride in other oral health products.
Fluoride has been a common chemical in U.S. water treatment since the 1950s and helps combat tooth decay.
*Original article online at https://www.reporterherald.com/2019/09/09/loveland-unaffected-by-fluoridation-woes/