DEL MAR — As the city of San Diego moves forward with fluoridation at its three treatment plants, Del Mar residents can expect to receive fluoridated water by the end of the year, Jim Fisher, assistant director of water operations for the San
Diego Public Utilities Department, told council members at the June 21 meeting.
Beginning in 1996, state law required all agencies with more than 10,000 water connections to fluoridate drinking water supplies. However, cities that didn’t have the money to do so were exempt until outside funding became available.
In 2008, the First 5 San Diego offered the city of San Diego $3.9 million, enough money to install fluoridation facilities at all three of its water treatment plants and provide two years of operation and maintenance costs.
First 5 is an organization that promotes the health and well-being of young children during their most critical years of development, from the prenatal stage through age 5.
San Diego was directed by the state Department of Public Health to begin fluoridation by May 2010. But because of delays in negotiating the funding agreement with the county, the city received an extension until December of this year at the latest, Fisher said.
Although the city of San Diego currently does not fluoridate any of its water, some treated water is received from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority.
Approximately 9 percent of San Diego’s imported water is fluoridated. Fisher described that as “suboptimal fluoridation.”
Del Mar receives about .3 milligrams per liter of fluoridation, but that’s the naturally occurring fluoride, according to Fisher. The city does not receive “any boosted fluoride levels at this time,” he said.
Dr. Gordon Rick, an oral pathologist, said he “fully and unreservedly” supports water fluoridation “to maximize the health of teeth and bones.” He said “the scientific evidence is overwhelming” when it comes to the benefits of fluoridation.
Dr. Patricia Murphy, a Del Mar dentist, said she is “wholly in support of fluoridation.”
“No one likes going to the dentist, least of all children,” Murphy said. “Fluoride’s definitely been proven to help children avoid that.”
Visit the San Diego County Dental Society at www.sdcds.org/Dental-Information/Fluoridation or the San Diego Water Department at www.sandiego.gov/water for more information.