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Fluoride Wars Resume-in Albuquerque: Meanwhile, Santa Fe Quietly Continues Fluoridating City Water at a Reduced Level

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Health Issues Page, Fluoride: The Hidden Poison Page and our New Mexico News Page.

When city and county officials in Albuquerque met last week to discuss reinstating water fluoridation, the scene was one familiar to Santa Feans. Dozens of community members showed up to protest what they described as an unnecessary and potentially cancer-causing, IQ-lowering incursion on their liberty, while doctors and dentists pleaded with the board to just look at the science and more importantly, think of the children.

Although the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority decided on Feb. 26 to defer a vote on fluoride until later this  spring, it allowed about an hour of public comment, reflecting a controversy that  will probably continue at a planned April meeting.

Meanwhile, Santa Fe has quietly reduced the fluoride added to its water to match upcoming federal regulations, years after a flurry of proposals, amendments and meetings in 2012 that resulted in no official change to the city code.

City Councilor Chris Calvert initially proposed ending supplemental fluoridation, but the ensuing backlash from medical experts persuaded  him to give up his bid.

Rudy Blea, director of the Office of Oral Health at the state health department, says people who don't have regular access to dental care benefit most from water fluoridation.

"Those who may not need it will never know the difference," he says, "but if you pull fluoride, you'll see the incidence of tooth decay increase."

Some opponents of adding fluoride to city drinking water argue tax dollars would be better spent providing improved dental care and education for the poor. Santa Fe spends about $30,000 a year on fluoridation (and it will cost Albuquerque about $100,000), but according to the American Dental Association, every dollar spent on treating tap water saves $38 in dental treatment costs.   

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