Officials Say With Fluoride Supply Gone, Chinese Chemicals Simply too Risky
MONTROSE — Although you can’t taste or smell the change, municipal water in the Uncompahgre Valley is no longer fluoridated. Supplies of the chemical used in water treatment have run out, and officials say using Chinese-made fluoride is not an option.
Last week, the Project 7 Water Authority, which provides drinking water to the Montrose, Olathe and Delta communities (and the Menoken, Chipeta and Tri-State water districts, as well) stopped using sodium silicofluoride in its water treatment to boost fluoride levels.
At Monday’s work session of the Montrose City Council, Public Works Director John Harris explained he has already received some positive comments about the change.
Harris, who also sits on the Project 7 board, said the supply of sodium silicofluoride, produced by a manufacture in Louisiana, was interrupted due to hurricane Katrina in 2005.
He said that supply never recovered, leaving municipalities in the United States looking elsewhere, including China.
In July — just as supplies were running out — Harris said the Project 7 board voted in favor to end the practice.
“I’m not willing to take a risk on a Chinese-based project,” Harris told The Watch Monday. “Something would have to change to make us rethink that.”
Harris said residents can use supplemental fluoride found in toothpastes and mouthwashes, but because of the shortage, fluoride “just wouldn’t be added to the drinking water.”
Although fluoride can occur naturally, sodium silicofluoride has been used in America’s public drinking water for more than half a century, for prevention of tooth decay.
Studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest there has been an 18-to-40 percent reduction in cavities, in children and adults, as a direct result of water fluoridation.
In a press release, Project 7 said “sodium silicofluoride will no longer be added to boost the naturally occurring fluoride in the water to the “optimum level” as defined by the EPA.
The decision to fluoridate a water supply is made by the local municipality, and is not mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency or any other federal entity.
“We can no longer obtain sodium silicoflouride that is manufactured in the USA, with the only supplier being China,” ” said Adam Turner, manager of Project 7. “We are not comfortable with the long-term quality control of the product we would be adding.”
According to the Project 7 website, water supplied to Project 7 from the Blue Mesa Reservoir contains a concentration range of naturally occurring fluoride (from 0.15 to 0.25 mg/l); the EPA limit of fluoride in water is 4 mg/l. Consuming levels higher than 4 mg/l, the EPA states, can cause bone disease and, for children, pits in their teeth.
During summer months demand fro Project 7 water is about 15 million gallons per day,as opposed to 5 million gallons per day in the winter.
For more information visit: www.project7water.org. or call 970/249-5935.