Nov 19, 2007

Fluoride Shortage Affects Drinking Water

A fluoride shortage in Evansville, Ind. has meant several months without fluoride in the water.

Evansville, Ind. has not had fluoride added to their water since February because American Water Enterprises, the company that operates the water treatment plant, ran out of the compound.

This shortage is not uncommon, according to the Evansville Courier Press, which says that a shortage of the compound has been reported in New York, Florida, Washington and throughout the Midwest.

Mary Armacost, water quality manager for American Water Enterprises at Evansville, said the State Board of Health had attributed the shortage to damage of Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities by Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago.

Others attribute the shortage to a downturn in the phosphate mining industry, particularly in Florida.

Although the addition of fluoride to the water has been credited with a drop in dental cavities, local dentists say that it would take a long-term absence to cause any major impacts. No legal requirements state that fluoride needs to be added to municipal water supplies, but it is a customary practice.

Fluoride has the greatest importance for children during their developing years, as it replaces calcium right after childbirth.