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Newport water to contain fluoride

Officials tell residents concerned with health effects that the tooth fortifier is safe to drink. Some remain skeptical.

October 27, 2007|By Brianna Bailey

Fluoridation is effective at preventing tooth decay, according to the American Dental Assn. Agencies that officially recognize the health benefits of fluoridation range from the World Health Organization to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“The benefits far outweigh any sort of risk,” said Denis Wolcott, spokesman for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “California is really one of the last states to do this on a large-scale basis.”

For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs, according to the association. Of the largest 50 cities in the United States, 42 have adopted fluoridation.

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“They’re trying to say one-size-fits-all, but just read the toothpaste. One size does not fit all,” Porter told council members Tuesday.

Based on data for 2000 from the American Dental Assn., about 162 million people, or two-thirds of the population, in the United States are served by public water systems that are fluoridated.

“It works across the community; if you’re rich or poor, you get the same benefit, so it’s a very socially just way to treat tooth decay,” Roth said. “If you’re indigent, it could be a problem for you to spend $4 on something like fluoridated mouthwash.”

Newport residents against water fluoridation say chemical additives that fluoridate municipal water supplies come from industrial waste.

That simply isn’t true, Roth said.

“That’s one of the many urban myths surrounding fluoridation. There is an industrial process that it goes through, but it’s not industrial waste or some kind of bi-product at all,” he said.

Fluoridation additives are regulated for safety by the Environmental Protective Agency and other federal agencies, Roth said.

The Internet has given rise to many sources on water fluoridation that aren’t credible, Wolcott said.

“Science has been pretty clear on the benefits of fluoridation,” Wolcott said. “In the age of the Internet, stuff gets posted online, and there’s no way to evaluate if its credible. It’s not peer-reviewed science.”


BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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