LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Fluoride in the water has often been linked to keeping teeth healthy. However, the City of Longmont has run out of it, and this could happen to other cities.
“So you can see the empty pallets where our product would normally sit,” Bob Allen, Longmont Operations Director said, inside of Longmont’s water treatment facility.
The city hasn’t had any fluoride on tap since early August.
“We were not able to receive a delivery due to a lack of supply, and we’re in a position where we had to stop feeding fluoride,” he said.
Allen then began looking into whether other cities had the same problem.
“And at that point we began asking questions and inquiring with other utilities nearby to see if they were having similar problems.”
They were, including Denver Water. A communications director with the company told CBS4 they had lost their supplier, but had a surplus of fluoride. They then switched to a new supplier, but it wasn’t immediate.
At one point, Denver Water had to make a small reduction in fluoride to help stretch out its remaining supply.
Allen later discovered it was a manufacturing issue.
“The supply chain problem’s due to a mine shutting down in the U.S.”
The Environmental Protection Agency requires that there should be .7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. Allen says Longmont’s water already has .2 naturally.
Dr. Clifton Carey with the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine doesn’t think there’s a reason to be alarmed yet.
“If fluoride is interrupted or reduced for whatever reason, for only a short amount of time, you can kind of make it back up,” Carey said.
At the water treatment facility in Longmont, Allen estimated the new shipment will come in by October, but it’s unclear if they’ll run out again.
“The mines that process it seem to be fewer now moving in the future, so there is some uncertainty as to what kind of product will be available in the future.”