A shortage of fluoride has forced many communities in North America to stop adding the cavity-fighting substance to their water, but the supply should be improved by spring, says an American distributor.
Moncton stopped adding fluoride to its municipal water system in September, one of the many communities across Canada and the U.S. dealing with a shortage caused by consolidation in the phosphate fertilizer industry.
“Some of the plants that collected fluoride closed and that caused the shortage,” said Dave Messerlie, president and CEO of Florida-based fluoride distribution company LCI, Ltd.
The closures caused bottlenecking in the industry as the demand outpaced the supply, Messerlie said. But suppliers are working on measures expected to revise the situation in about two more months, he said.
The temporary shortage of fluoride isn’t a major concern, said Lou Ann Baker, spokeswoman for Veolia Water, which runs Moncton’s water treatment facility.
“Fluoride’s commonly available in many products that people use everyday, in toothpaste and mouthwashes and mouth rinses. Think about what you see as you walk down the supermarket shelves — clearly the product is available in other forms and formats,” Baker said.
Moncton received a small supply of fluoride this week, but it won’t be adding it to the water quite yet, said Ensor Nicholson, director of water systems for Moncton.
“Rather than stopping and starting the application, we’d like to at least be able to have confirmation going forward that the supply will be continuous, so we’ve suspended the application until we can get that confirmation,” Nicholson said.