Santa Fe City Council votes to stop adding fluoride to water supply

Posted: July 15, 2012 in city, dental, fluoride, health
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The city of Santa Fe will discontinue its longstanding practice of adding fluoride to municipal drinking water.

The City Council late Wednesday amended the city code to stop fluoridation and require water managers to monitor naturally occurring fluoride so it doesn’t exceed the maximum level recommended by federal standards.

The city has added the mineral to its water supply since 1955 because of the belief that it helps reduce tooth decay.

Today, the city fluoridates by measuring small amounts of a dry chemical compound at its water treatment plant on Canyon Road and at wells, and the same practice takes place at a treatment plant for Rio Grande water drawn into the joint city/county Buckman Direct Diversion project. But, following Wednesday’s City Council vote, that practice will cease.

“What’s happening is you are fluoridating 100 percent of the water, and anywhere from 95 to 99 percent of it does not get ingested,” said Councilor Chris Calvert. “So you are basically dumping most of it into the environment one way or the other.”

Calvert, who said he did graduate research on fluoride, said the city should give the $32,000 it currently spends on fluoridation to local dental clinics for the poor.

Ten people testified during Wednesday’s public hearing to appeal to councilors to halt fluoridating. They cited research they say shows that ingesting fluoride is dangerous to human health.

“It’s time for the city of Santa Fe to recognize that the application of fluoride is outdated,” said Jimmie McClure, a chiropractic physician in the city. He noted that fluoride is shown to be effective to prevent decay when applied topically, but not when ingested.

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