Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Word leaked last month that New Orleans' tap water hadn't contained fluoride since Hurricane Katrina. For almost two years, no one in city or state government bothered to inform the public that they weren't getting the additive, which most experts think helps fight tooth decay.
Now the water utility is adding fluoride again, but the supply might only last a few days. Just more proof that New Orleans is recovering at the speed of molasses, right? Not necessarily.
As it turns out, lots of water utilities have struggled to acquire fluoride over the past two years. Production problems led to higher prices and a dwindling supply, which, as New Orleans' Times-Picayune notes, "sparked a consumer frenzy, with water utilities across the country rushing to stockpile fluorides..."
Where else has this been a problem? Evansville, Indiana, for one, where the Courier & Press reported in May that the city had lacked fluoride since February and added:
Evansville is not alone in having unfluoridated water. A shortage of the compound, most often created as a byproduct of phosphate mining, has been reported in cities in New York, Florida, Washington and throughout the Midwest.
I can add Massachusetts and North Carolina to that list. So, pretty much, everywhere.
Update: New Orleans is out of fluoride again.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.