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Fluoride

October 04, 1998

I noted with amusement and dismay "L.A. to Add Fluoride to Water by End of Year" (Sept. 24), on water fluoridation starting in Los Angeles.

The water engineer says "$50 in dental bills" can be saved "for every $1 we spend" on fluoride. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. For the entire state of California, tooth decay rates and dental costs are roughly the same between fluoridated and nonfluoridated areas. If you want to talk about the economics consider this: People drink about 0.23% of the water supplied. Thus, for every $1,000 spent on fluoridation chemicals, about $2.30 goes toward people. Most of the remaining 99.77% of fluorides get dumped into the sewers and become a source of pollution to the environment.

DOUG CRAGOE

North Hollywood

*

The society-wide benefits of fluoride are well-known and beyond any reasonable dispute. Garden Grove Councilman Mark Leyes' statement equating fluoridation to adding Prozac to the water supply ("State Law on Fluoride Has No Teeth," Orange County edition, Sept. 25) is patently absurd. The suggestion that parents buy special toothpaste, drops or pills completely misses the point: A fluoridated water supply is by far the best and most inexpensive way to improve the dental care of all Californians, rich and poor, young and old.

TIMOTHY F. COMSTOCK

Executive Director

California Dental Assn.

Sacramento

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