Too much of a good thing may be bad for your health.
That’s what the city of Rifle is thinking as it mulls over whether to continue to add fluoride into the city’s water supply.
“We’ve put fluoride in the water for years,” said public works director Bill Sappington. “Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance, but there’s a maximum level you can put in the water. We have to monitor it to make sure we don’t put in too much. We think we should let the consumer[s] choose what they want.”
The city is welcoming input from city water customers as to whether they want fluoride added to their drinking water.
For years, supporters have touted fluoride as a deterrent to tooth decay. It is often added to toothpaste, mouthwash and vitamin supplements. However, too much of it can be unhealthy, especially in children, according to recent studies UNICEF, a worldwide children’s advocate organization, reported.
“It has long been known that excessive fluoride intake carries serious toxic effects,” the UNICEF report says. “But scientists are now debating whether fluoride confers any benefit at all.”
Overconsumption of fluoride is especially dangerous to young children, the report said.
Sappington likens the city’s addition of fluoride to the water to prescribing medicine.
“When you take a medicine, you take a specific dose,” he said. “But how much (fluoride) are you supposed to get? What is the proper dosage per day? What about the person who doesn’t want to partake and is still getting it (in the water)?”
The city of Glenwood Springs adds fluoride to its water, but not all communities in the Roaring Fork Valley do, Sappington said.
Eliminating the addition of fluoride to Rifle’s drinking water might not only reduce potential health hazards, but cut down on costs at the city’s water plant as well.
“It would eliminate another possibility of mechanical problems in our system,” Sappington said. “We could see a savings from an operations standpoint and concentrate on other duties as opposed to that.”
Rifle city water users can to call the public works department at 625-6223 with their thoughts and opinions on fluoride in their drinking water.