News Feature | March 18, 2014

Fluoride Debate Rages On

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

teethhreg

Portland stands alone in its decision against fluoridating its water.

"Of the 30 largest cities in America, Portland, OR is the only one to repeatedly resist fluoridating their drinking water," Travelers Today reported.

Last year, for the fourth time since 1956, Portlanders "rejected a plan to fluoridate city water, 60 percent to 40 percent," The Oregonian reported.  

But even if most major U.S. cities fluoridate their water, the debate on this issue continues to fester. City officials and water authorities across the world are constantly reevaluating the fluoride question. 

Late last month, in New Mexico, "Albuquerque and Bernalillo County's water utility authority board [continued to] reconsider adding extra fluoride to the water system Wednesday," KOAT reported

"Most medical professionals feel fluoride is an important resource and tool for communities, especially ones that are low-income. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities, specifically in kids and senior citizens," the report said. 

"It really is one of the top 10 most important advances of the 20th century," KOAT's Dr. Barry Ramo said.

But cost is a consideration, as well. "It would be $400,000 to add extra fluoride back into the water system and cost taxpayers $100,000 a year after to maintain regular levels," the report said.  

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidance on optimal fluoride levels: "The recommended fluoride level in drinking water for good oral health is 0.7 mg/L (milligrams per liter). If fluoride levels in your drinking water are lower than 0.7 mg/L, your child's dentist or pediatrician should evaluate whether your child could benefit from daily fluoride supplements."

Fluoride pros and cons, in a nutshell: "Opponents cite studies that claim it lowers IQ in developing children. Supporters argue it is the safest and most beneficial addition to modern healthcare in the last 100 years," Travelers Today said.

For more on government oversight, check out Water Online's Regulations & Legislation Solution Center.

Image credit: "Brushing Teeth," © 2012 dani0010, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

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