Meeker likely to vote again on fluoridated water treatment

MEEKER I Town of Meeker water operations supervisor Tobey Willey recently informed the Meeker Board of Trustees that the town’s fluoride monitoring equipment is currently not working and therefore fluoride cannot be added to the water system.

The State of Colorado is aware of the status and the town is not in violation as fluoride injection is now a voluntary process and most communities across the state have stopped adding it to their water supplies. Only four systems are still adding it, with Meeker having been one of them.
Willey said that fixing the monitoring equipment, replacement of the aging injection system, which was installed in 1991, and obtaining the fluoride chemical are issues the board will need to address if the process is to be continued. One of the few remaining suppliers in Colorado from whom the town may obtain supplies creates its fluoride as a waste by-product of fertilizer production.
In 1990, Meeker asked voters if they should inject fluoride into the water system. The question passed by 40 votes.
Meeker Town Attorney Melody Massih commented that since it was approved by the voters, the town is bound to add the fluoride and that discontinuing it would require an election.
The board had a discussion about the controversial practice surrounding fluoridation in the public water system and the board made a decision that they wanted to take it back to the voters in the next combined election before spending money on fixing and updating the town’s antiquated system.
Willey added that fluoride occurs naturally in the town’s water supply on the average of .3 percent The state requires levels not to exceed .7 percent with the only benefit of adding it for dental hygiene of infants and small children.
There are numerous negative health-related implications that are still being researched, including that there is no control over how much a person consumes (someone may ingest a lot of town water, others drink none at all).
Willey stated that ingesting a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste warrants contacting poison control, according to required labeling on tubes. There are studies tying fluoridation to the early onset of osteoporosis in women and other negative implications to infants and children with higher-than-permitted levels such as mottling (discoloration) and fluorosis of teeth.
The Meeker Town Board will be holding a public hearing Aug. 5 to consider approval of the ordinance language to ask the voters to discontinue fluoridating the town water.