Why does the Sanford Water District add fluoride to our drinking water water?
The Sanford Water District has been adding Fluoride to the water since 1972, which is when the Citizens of Sanford voted to fluoridate the water. Maine law and the Maine Drinking Water Program regulations require the District to continue fluoridation unless the citizens vote to stop fluoridation.
Could the citizens of Sanford and Springvale stop fluoridation of their water?
Yes, they can. The vote on the issue of fluoridation must be called by a majority vote of the municipal officers acting on their own initiative or pursuant to a petition meeting the requirements established for a referendum vote by the municipality's home rule charter. In other words, the City Council could vote to put the question on the ballot, or the citizens could petition to force the vote to happen. In Sanford would mean citizens need to form a 5 or more person committee, then gather signatures from at least 5% of the registered voters. As of November 3rd 2023, there were 15,704 registered voters in Sanford according to City Clerk Sue Cote. That translates to 785 signatures, but this needs to be confirmed with the City Clerk, and the committee needs to register with the City Clerk.
What additive is used to fluoridate to the water?
The Sanford Water District uses fluorosilicic acid, a water-based solution used by most water systems in the United States according to the Federal CDC. Fluorosilicic acid is also referred to as hydrofluorosilicate, FSA, or HFS. Since the early 1950s, FSA has been the main additive used for water fluoridation in the United States. The favorable cost and high purity of FSA make it a popular additive. Sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride come from processing FSA, or from processing hydrogen fluoride. FSA can be partially neutralized by either table salt (sodium chloride) or caustic soda to get sodium fluorosilicate. If enough caustic soda is added to completely neutralize the fluorosilicate, the result is sodium fluoride. About 90% of the sodium fluoride used in the United States comes from FSA.
How are Fluoride additives produced?
From the CDC website:
Most fluoride additives used in the United States are produced from phosphorite rock. Phosphorite contains calcium phosphate mixed with limestone (calcium carbonates) minerals and apatite—a mineral with high phosphate and fluoride content. It is refluxed (heated) with sulfuric acid to produce a phosphoric acid-gypsum (calcium sulfate-CaSO4) slurry. The phosphoric and fluoride gases that are released in the process are then separated. The fluoride gas is captured and used to create fluorosilicic acid.
According to the American Water Works Association Standards Committee on Fluorides, the sources of fluoride products used for water fluoridation in the United States are as follows:
Approximately 90% are produced during the process of extracting phosphate from phosphoric ore.
Approximately 5% come from the production of hydrogen fluoride or sodium fluoride.
Approximately 5% come from the purification of high-quality quartz.
Since the early 1950s, FSA has been the main additive used for water fluoridation in the United States. The favorable cost and high purity of FSA make it a popular additive. Sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride come from processing FSA, or from processing hydrogen fluoride. FSA can be partially neutralized by either table salt (sodium chloride) or caustic soda to get sodium fluorosilicate. If enough caustic soda is added to completely neutralize the fluorosilicate, the result is sodium fluoride. About 90% of the sodium fluoride used in the United States comes from FSA.
How much fluoride is added to the water?
In Maine, the target level of fluoride for dental benefit in drinking water is 0.7 milligrams per liter (mg/l, or parts-per-million – ppm). The recommended control range is 0.5 to 1.2 mg/l of the optimum level. The recommended control range helps maintain optimal fluoridation.
Is fluoridated water safe?
According to the Federal CDC, community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations. It is recommended by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization.
Can the Sanford Water District choose whether or not to fluoridate?
No. The Sanford Water District must fluoridate the water unless the citizens of Sanford vote to curtain fluoridation as per Maine Revised Statutes Title 22, Chapter 601: Subchapter 5: FLUORIDATION. The District has always remained neutral on the issue of fluoridation as we are not medical or dental professionals. We strongly suggest people talk to their doctor about the safety of fluoride in the water, or their dentist about the benefits. The District will continue to follow the will of the voters in Sanford.