FAIRBANKS — An ordinance to prohibit the addition of fluoride to community water systems will be introduced today at the Fairbanks City Council.
The ordinance, sponsored by Fairbanks Mayor Jerry Cleworth, cites recommendations made by the Fairbanks Fluoride Task Force. After more than a year of study and public testimony, the group of local scientists and health care professionals said fluoride should no longer be added to the public water supply.
Eliminating the added fluoride should reduce the risk of fluorosis, a type of tooth discoloration, the group said.
The city began adding fluoride to the water in 1959, part of a national movement designed to fight tooth decay. Removing the added chemical could have a small effect upon dental health, but what that might be is unpredictable, the task force said.
The task force said removing fluoride would end ethical concerns raised by the addition of the chemical to local water.
The group said its conclusion runs counter to the recommendations of the American Dental Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alaska Department of Public Health.
The chemical might be useful in some communities, the group said. However, “the majority of members are not convinced that it is necessary in Fairbanks because of the fluoride content of the city’s ground water and the alternate sources of fluoride available in the community,” the task force said.
Recently in Georgia, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and Gerald Durley, pastor of Atlanta’s Providence Baptist Church, called for an end to that state’s mandatory fluoridation law. Durley said the chemical could disproportionately harm black Americans because they have higher rates of kidney disease and diabetes, maladies that a National Academy of Sciences report said make people more susceptible to fluoride-related problems. Young also said poor families are less able to obtain unfluoridated water to mix with baby formula. Such infants have a higher rate of fluorosis, a concern cited by the Fairbanks task force as well.
The local task force also recommended the Fairbanks North Star Borough government be involved in any decision-making process because about 25 percent of people on the Golden Heart Utilities water system live outside city limits.
Cleworth said earlier this month he had notified borough officials of his intent to introduce the ordinance