Issaquah Will Be Adding Fluoride to Every Resident’s Drinking Water


Ben Eskenazi

DANGERS & PERKS During the year 2021, the city of Issaquah is planning to fluoridate all drinking water. This act does support better dental care and is also cheap. But it is unnecessary to add fluoride to water and may result in the lowering of IQ in younger kids and result in a disease called skeletal fluorosis.

Jackson Chollman, Staff Writer

You have probably never had a nice and refreshing sip of water and questioned if chemicals were being added to it. With the recent proposal that the city of Issaquah is putting forth, your drinking water will be altered. The city is going to be adding fluoride to all of the water supply. Adding fluoride is beneficial to our teeth, but there are other benefits that fluoridated water has.

In the 1940s the U.S. began adding fluoride to citizens’ water. Now, over 74 million Americans are using fluoridated water. The CDC states that adding fluoride to water “reduces tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent” and it will also “protect against cavities.” Now that the amount of tooth decay and cavities can be decreased, the demand for dental and oral care has also decreased.  Many parts of the U.S. are receiving fluoridated water, and according to the CDC “in 2012, more than 210 million people, or 75% of the US population were served by community water systems that contain enough fluoride to protect their teeth. However, approximately 100 million Americans still do not have access to water with fluoride. Because it is so beneficial, the United States has a national goal for 80% of Americans to have water with enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay by 2020.” This means that the U.S. will be able to almost completely say goodbye to cavities.

Yet recent research suggests that fluoride could do more harm to us than good if we are overexposed to it. In Canada there has been a new study by JAMA Pediatrics, in which “researchers measured fluoride levels in urine samples of 512 expectant Canadian women during each trimester. Their children later took IQ tests at the age of three and four. After adjusting for factors such as maternal education and household income, the researchers found that higher fluoride corresponded with lower IQ scores, most strongly in the boys.” This tells us that the future generations may suffer from a lowered IQ if their parents expose them to too much fluoride at such a young age.

When we get overexposed to chemicals like fluoride, there can be more severe risks involved. The most common disease due to overexposure to fluoride is skeletal fluorosis. After many years of high levels of fluoride in your body, the MNT concludes that “this can result in pain and damage to the bones and joints. The bones may become hardened and less elastic, increasing the risks of fractures. If the bones thicken and bone tissue accumulates, this can contribute to impaired joint mobility.” Teens should not worry about these issues because only years of excessive levels of fluoride in the body will lead to this.

The city is planning to add 0.7 ppm of (parts per million) of fluoride to all of the city water supply including well and tank by 2021. PATCH states, “City officials are exploring a new water treatment facility for Issaquah to serve a population that is expected to grow to 50,000 by 2027. The city might meet its pumping capacity as soon as 2021.” With that level of fluoride, it will not be dangerous, but possibly unnecessary because we already get enough fluoride daily. Senior Alexander Takeuchi and freshman Finn Aierstock both agreed that if we brush our teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day and eat foods that contain small amounts of fluoride, then it is not entirely necessary to add fluoride to water. On the other hand, sophomore Julia Wood disagrees and said, “I think that it is good to have clean teeth.” And while it is beneficial to have clean teeth, we may not want to risk being overexposed to fluoride.

The cost to fluoridate water is relatively low. According to the ADA, “The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.” If we do fluoridate the water, then it will be very cheap and helpful for families who do not have the time or money for dental care. Junior Emma Bi said, “I mainly drink bottled water.” So does Aierstock, but Takeuchi and Wood both drinks tap water. Therefore, some Issaquah residents’ will be paying for fluoride in their water even though they may only drink bottled water.

Overall, adding fluoride to water has advantages like reducing cavities and other dental issues. But if we get overexposed to fluoride for the rest of our lives, then we could expect to see some serious bone and joint issues. And one may ask, does the government really care that much about our teeth? They want about 80 percent of Americans to have fluoridated water, so they do not get cavities. But why would not we want to solve more of the obvious issues within the U.S like guns, hate, and vaping? These issues all seem more serious than a few cavities. Perhaps there are other issues that fluoride causes that we do not yet know about. Only time will tell.