Years after it disappeared, fluoride gets a return date to Buffalo’s water supply

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Water Authority hopes to return fluoride to the city’s water supply by August, the agency told the Common Council on Tuesday.

The announcement signaled the end of a nearly decade-long period when city residents have not had tap water with the addition of fluoride, a mineral commonly added to water systems for its dental health benefits. Fluoride helps rebuild tooth enamel, which assists in the prevention of cavities and tooth decay, according to the CDC.

While some municipalities around the country are opting to forgo fluoride in their water — the mineral can also have negative health effects if consumed in too high of quantities over an extended period of time — the change caused alarm in Buffalo because the details of the 2015 reversal were not revealed to the public until The Buffalo News reported on it in 2023.

A group of parents filed a class action lawsuit against the city over the issue.

The Water Board projects the necessary equipment will be installed by July, with staff training and governmental inspection to follow. If all goes according to plan, the board’s goal is for the resumption of fluoride to take place by the end of August.

Byron Brown says Buffalo ‘prepared’ to restore fluoride to water, awaiting health department approval (Oct. 2023)

“The advancements detailed by Buffalo Water marks a significant stride in improving dental health within our community,” University District Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt said in a press release Tuesday. “We commend the transparency and commitment demonstrated by the Water Authority, as well as the residents and dental professionals who have actively engaged with us in Chambers over the past few months, advocating for and enlightening us on this matter.”

The Water Board’s letter to the Common Council can be seen below.

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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