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Lafayette’s Fluoride Frenzy


Among the myriad of achievements Colorado is known for was the discovery of fluoride. Many types of toothpaste contain this compound, which helps prevent cavities. That’s something to smile about. Less attractive was its detection in 1901 by Fredrick McKay.

The young dental graduate opened a practice in Colorado Springs, and was shocked to see many of the locals had brown-mottled enamel, though resistant to decay. Also known as Colorado Brown Stain, the cosmetic flaws were due to dental fluorosis: exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during teeth development. Colorado Springs’ water supply was abundant with the stuff.

Today, the EPA and state department put the “optimal” level of fluoridated water at one part per million (ppm). (Some proponents are more in favor of 0.7 ppm.)

Water fluoridation is no stranger to America. In fact, it has flowed through the city of Lafayette’s supply since 1952 as a means of combating tooth decay—especially in below poverty families.

The problem is that with the advent and reception of fluoridated toothpaste, many Lafayette citizens are concerned to be over-dosed—the words “Colorado Brown Stain” returning in large, 1950s monster-movie poster letters.

But opponents like Dr. Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network, have stepped up in Lafayette. The battleground for stopping water fluoridation has been and is continuing to be fought in their city council. Above are some case arguments that hold water.

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