By Gary Mitchell
Most experts agree Clovis’ main water supply is low in chemicals that could cause major health problems. But it is not problem free.
“The water in the Clovis area is a little high in naturally occurring fluoride. And it can do some cosmetic discoloration on teeth,” said Robin Casale, regional water quality director for American Water Works, parent company for Clovis’ water supplier.
The average detected level of fluoride in Clovis-area water is 2.18 parts per million and the MCL is 4 parts per million.
The water company’s 2001 water quality report lists an “alert” about the fluoride level in the water.
“A cosmetic dental problem … might affect children under 9 years of age,” the report stated. “At low levels, fluoride can help prevent cavities, but children drinking water containing more than 2 milligrams per liter of fluoride may develop cosmetic discoloration of their permanent teeth (dental fluorosis). The drinking water provided by New Mexico-American Water Co. has a fluoride concentration of 2.18 milligrams per liter.
“Dental fluorosis, in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and/or pitting of the permanent teeth,” the report stated. “This problem occurs in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. … Drinking water containing more than 4 milligrams per liter of fluoride can increase your risk of developing bone disease. Your drinking water does not contain more than 4 milligrams per liter of fluoride, but we’re required to notify you when we discover that the fluoride levels in your drinking water exceed 2 milligrams per liter because of this cosmetic dental problem.”