Fairbanks Looks into Fluoride Issue

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The city of Fairbanks is holding public comment sessions tonight and tomorrow night on a city commissioned task force report about fluoride in drinking water.  The task force spent the last year researching the issue and recently released a draft report that recommends Golden Heart Utilities stop adding fluoride to municipal water.  Many communities across the country have stopped adding fluoride to the water over concerns about health side effects, including dental fluorosis, a pitting or mottling of tooth enamel that baby teeth are especially susceptible to.   There are also less proven links between fluoride and skeletal fluorosis, endocrine gland disruptions and cancer. Fairbanks Fluoride Task Force member Dr. Beth Medford says a recent American Dental Association recommendation that fluoridated water not be used to reconstitute baby formula was key for her.

Water with 1 part per million fluoride has been linked to dental fluorosis. The fluoride concentration in Fairbanks city water was recently dropped from 1 part per million to point 7 parts per million in response to the new ADA stance.  Many dentists stand behind water fluoridation as an important tool for preventing cavities.  Dr. Medford says task force members struggled to weigh the pluses and minus of fluoride in water.

Medford says there’s a lot of data on fluoride in water but none of it is definitive.  The issue is complicated by the inability to account for variables like how much fluoridated water people drink, and other factors effecting dental and general health.

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