Senior staffer says presentation will take place after December
A presentation on water fluoridation was added to the calendar of the Loveland Utilities Commission on Tuesday, after City Council members heard from a citizen concerned about the practice.
Fluoride is commonly added to drinking water by cities because of its ability to protect against tooth decay.
Loveland’s water is fluoridated at a rate of 0.7 milligrams per liter, reflecting about 0.2 mg of naturally occurring fluoride as well as 0.5 mg of a fluoride compound introduced at the Loveland Water Treatment Plant.
After being ceded time by six other citizens, Traudl Renner spoke during the public comment period of Tuesday’s council meeting to share selected research about water fluoridation, alleging that fluoride toxicity contributes to many diagnoses of thyroid problems, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
“There continues to be growing concern in our community in regard to this practice, just as concern has grown in scientific circles,” she said.
Since the mid-20th century, when fluoridation became commonplace, the consensus among public health experts has been that the amount of fluoride needed to improve dental health is not enough to be harmful.
The U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dental Association, American Water Works Association and other agencies support the fluoridation of drinking water.
Renner also said the fluoride present in drinking water suppresses the immune system and suggested fluoridation poses a unique risk during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Her concerns were taken up by Ward II councilor Andrea Samson, who suggested the council hold a study session to review the research done on the issue.
“It would be interesting to have both sides to discuss this,” she said. “If it does impact immune systems, it’s something that could really benefit our citizens to be really mindful of and make sure we have really dialed in if … we decide we want to continue moving forward.”
After being asked by Ward IV councilor Dave Clark whether there was any new information to suggest the practice is harmful, Loveland Water and Power director Joe Bernosky said the evidence in favor of fluoridation is “overwhelming” and defended it as beneficial, particularly for poor customers without regular access to dental care.
“I am personally unaware of any new revelations that would cause me to suspect this practice to be potentially harmful,” he said. “My primary goal here as director of Water and Power is to protect public health … and if I thought for a moment that anything that we were doing was contrary to that, I would cease it in a moment.”
Clark — along with Mayor Jacki Marsh and councilors Rob Molloy of Ward I and John Fogle of Ward III — said he supported Samson’s suggestion, though he and Fogle both said they hoped the presentation would be brief.
“Let’s not spend copious amounts of staff time on this,” Fogle said.
Councilors Steve Olson of Ward III and Don Overcash of Ward IV challenged the basis of Renner’s concerns, with Olson saying he thought the county health department was most qualified to evaluate the issue and Overcash saying he felt a presentation without compelling proof of fluoridation being harmful was not necessary.
“Unless some significant data has come forth that is really different than what we’ve studied over the last several decades, I’m really not inclined to support the commitment of city staff time,” Overcash said.
Samson and the other supporters ultimately agreed with a suggestion by City Manager Steve Adams that the Loveland Utilities Commission hear the presentation first and decide whether any of the information ought to come before the council.
Bernosky later said the presentation would take place no sooner than January.