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Longmont Runs Out Of Fluoride For Water Supply

For the last two months, the city of Longmont hasn't had enough fluoride to add to its drinking water.

The temporary suspension is due to a shortage of sodium fluorosilicate. Longmont has added the mineral to its drinking water since 1958, to aid in dental health. Since the last sodium fluoride mine in the country shut down this year, supplies have been restricted along the Front Range.

Bob Allen with Longmont's public works department says if the shortage continues, the city might  be forced to revisit whether it wants to continue the practice at all.

"We did inform city council that we had supply issues and that was the beginning of that conversation. It will continue, particularly if we don’t receive the product in a manner where we can continuously feed it into our water supply," Allen said.

Other communities in Colorado such as Montrose and Palisade have stopped fluoridating water after determining that toothpaste and other dental products provided enough health benefits. Fluoride naturally occurs in many municipal drinking water supplies in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent recommends fluoridating drinking water to a level of 0.7 milligrams per liter. Longmont naturally has 0.2mg/L of fluoride in its water supply.

Water treatment operations manager Jim Kaufman tells the Times-Call he's expecting his Belgium supplier to ramp up production in the next couple of weeks.

The CDC says shortages of fluoride are not very common and tend to last for a few weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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