To fluoridate or not to fluoridate?
That is once again the question being asked to the residents of Rifle.
After 10 years, the issue is being brought up once again and was the subject of a workshop presentation before Rifle City Council members before the March 4 meeting.
No action was taken, but the issue is being revisited, and council will likely look at it again in the near future.
Fluoridating the water was a controversial issue in 2005. City Council members at the time decided not to fluoridate Rifle’s tap water, but pediatricians and dentists are now saying that they are seeing increased cases of cavities in children and that fluoride should be added to the water to help prevent dental problems.
Dr. Colby Quintenz, a pediatrician at Grand River Health in Rifle, gave a presentation and asked Rifle City Council members to add fluoride back into the city’s water. The city currently does not fluoridate its water.
“I’ve been a practicing physician for nine years in Glenwood Springs and moved to Rifle last summer,” Quintenz said. “I’ve noticed how much worse people’s teeth were than in Glenwood Springs.”
Cavities, which may seem like a small annoyance, can actually become part of a larger problem in a person’s health, such as heart disease.
“Cavities are a sign of an infection,” Quintenz said. “And it’s especially not good for kids.”
But not everyone is in favor of adding fluoride to the water.
Former longtime mayor and current New Castle City Councilor, Frank Breslin, is not in favor of adding fluoride to municipal drinking water and, in fact, calls it a “poison.”
“Fluoride may help some people who have a terrible diet, but it’s not benefiting everyone,” Breslin said. “It’s a poison and danger to the people in the public works department who have to handle it.”
The city of Rifle went through a public debate in 2005 about whether or not they should add fluoride to their water.
“We don’t currently add fluoride to the water,” said Rifle City Manager Matt Sturgeon. “And we haven’t taken any action on it.”
Rifle Mayor Randy Winkler said the council will take the matter under consideration and determine a plan for the future.