Anti-fluoridation activists are attempting to persuade the Denver Water Board to stop adding the compound, said to protect teeth against cavities, to city water. The board is reviewing its policy and invited public comment.
“Why should we impose it on people?” Fluoride Action Network director Paul Connett said at a July 29 meeting hosted on the subject. Opponents of water fluoridation contend that it is a neurotoxin that actually weakens bones, and that the government is mass medicating residents without their consent. Around 130 people packed the public meeting, the Denver Post reported.
A campaign against fluoridation has persuaded about 200 cities worldwide to stop adding fluoride to their water supplies.
To preemptively counteract that message, Colorado public health director Larry Wolk and Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement prior to the meeting recommending that all communities embrace fluoridation.
“More than 70 years of research has proven that community water fluoridation is a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of improving the oral health of all Coloradans,” they jointly said.
Public utilities began adding fluoride to public water in the 1950s. Today, 72% of Coloradans receive municipal water with added or natural fluoride; in communities where the water supply has naturally occurring high levels of fluoride, such as Aurora, fluoride is not always added.
Deborah Foote of Oral Health Colorado, an organization supporting fluoridation, pointed out in an interview with The Colorado Statesman that fluoridation can particularly benefit children who otherwise might not get adequate dental care. “[Fluoridation] is one of the pillars of protecting their teeth,” she explained. “Community water fluoridation is the optimal way to deliver it to all children regardless of economics, race, and ethnicity.”
It’s generally agreed upon that poor dental health is a problem in the United States. Almost a third — 31% — of adults have tooth decay. But those who oppose fluoridation say that the problem is simply caused by people eating too much sugar.
The board says it will make a final decision by Aug 26.