Fluoridation Update: Fluoridation Resumes
Supplemental fluoridation of Albuquerque’s drinking water resumed on June 27, 2018. Background information about the decision to resume fluoridation, and the utility’s fluoridation methodology, is included in the update from Sept. 21, 2017, posted below.
Fluoridation Update (Posted Sept. 21, 2017)
After months of debate, the Water Authority’s governing Board in September 2017 approved supplemental fluoridation of the municipal drinking water supply.
On a 5-2 vote, the Board amended the utility’s budget to authorize $250,000 for the necessary fluoridation equipment. The Board also directed staff to implement a supplemental fluoridation program to meet, as closely as possible, the optimum fluoride levels for dental health recommended by the federal government.
Water Authority engineering staff estimate that, allowing for equipment installation and calibration, supplemental fluoridation will begin within 6-8 months.
The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Dental Association urged the Water Authority to resume supplemental fluoridation for the sake of the community’s dental health. Representatives of both organizations said fluoridation would be especially beneficial for low-income and disadvantaged populations in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
Supplemental fluoridation was the norm in Albuquerque from 1972 until 2011, when the Water Authority suspended the practice pending issuance of new federal recommendations on optimal fluoride levels. The Centers for Disease Control eventually issued a recommended optimal level of 0.7 mg/L (parts per million). Fluoride occurs naturally in the local water supply at about 0.5 mg/L on average.
Addition of fluoride (liquid fluorosilicic acid) will take place at the Water Authority’s San Juan-Chama drinking water plant, which treats all the surface water used throughout the Water Authority’s system.
By way of obtaining public input on this issue, the Water Authority conducted a town hall meeting on April 9, 2014, at the African American Performing Arts Center. About 70 people attended the meeting, and presentations were made by Water Authority staff and experts opposed to and in favor of fluoridation (click on links to download copies of the presentations).