On Dec. 17, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson issued a statement, published below, to address what he called “false media reports” regarding a temporary shut off of fluoride to the city’s water supply.
Without going into specifics, some leftist members of the Anchorage Assembly have suggested, both in interviews and public statements, that there may be some ulterior motive for why the conservative mayor briefly halted fluoridation of the city’s water.
Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance went so far as to state on Dec. 17 that she and and other Assembly members are “committed to following through on our fact-finding inquiry.”
In response to false media reports, I want to set the record straight regarding fluoride in our city’s water supply.
On October 1st, I along with members of my administration visited the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) Eklutna Water Treatment Plant for a site visit. During the visit, a discussion ensued about health problems occurring among water treatment plant staff charged with fluoridation of Anchorage’s water supply.
AWWU staff informed my team and I that fluoride burned the eyes and throats of staff who handled it and was a health hazard for employees. Fluoride is considered a hazardous substance that must be handled by trained professionals.
My team and I were presented information that pausing the fluoridation of Anchorage’s water would not violate federal or state law and didn’t violate Municipal Charter. To protect the health and safety of AWWU staff, I decided to halt the fluoridation of Anchorage’s water supply and to further investigate these concerns with the Assembly.
Later that afternoon, my team and I determined Municipal Code requires the fluoridation of Anchorage’s water supply. We immediately informed AWWU leadership to resume fluoridation of the Muni’s water. Fluoride was not added to the water supply for approximately five hours.
On Tuesday, December 14, AWWU General Manager Mark Corsentino confirmed, “The data shows there was no disruption or material change to the fluoride in our water during October 1.” Fluoride levels did not violate Municipal code or Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.
AWWU routinely shuts down the fluoride system for maintenance for much longer intervals than what occurred on October 1. In November, AWWU shutdown the fluoride system for several days to conduct maintenance on the system. Anchorage’s water supply remains safe for public consumption.