Denver Water Opts To Keep Fluoride Program

Photo: Fluoride added after filtration, before disinfection
Denver Water adds fluoride, less than a drop per 55 gallons, at its treatment plants.

Denver Water, which serves 1.3 million city residents, voted Wednesday to continue its 60-year-old practice of adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.

"After careful consideration of the information put forth by both sides of the fluoridation debate, I am convinced that the community water fluoridation level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service provides substantial health benefits, and is a safe, cost-effective and common sense contribution to the health of the public," Denver Water Commissioner Greg Austin said in a statement after Wednesday's action.

Opponents of fluoridation believe that fluoride's health risks outweigh its benefits, and that it can be consumed voluntarily in a number of different ways for those who want it.

The agency said it received nearly 1,200 comments, via letters, emails and postcards, from as far away as New Zealand. The vast majority were submitted by opponents, including national anti-fluoridation groups like the Fluoride Action Network. We Are Change Colorado sent in over 650 postcards.

Aligned on the other side were an array of health and medical institutions, like Colorado's health department, the Colorado Medical Society and the American Dental Association. The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Larry Wolk, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, issued a statement calling fluoridation of community water supplies a "safe, effective and inexpensive" way to improve oral health.