A. Water Fluoridation
Ellie Kurth, Amherst DPW explained data regarding the level of naturally-occurring fluoride in unfinished source water is limited. An in-house testing program of raw water has been implemented, but will need time in order to provide good assessment data. Ms. Kurth pointed out five wells exist in town and two surface water sources. Ms. Kurth confirmed the town purchases fluoride which meets quality standards through a bidding process. The Board of Health (BOH) reviewed evidence that the City of Northampton voted twice, December 8, 1953 and November 6, 1974, to discontinue a water fluoridation program due to cost. Ms. Federman explained she had contacted the Department of Health (DPH) who in turn referred her to an organization willing to provide a presentation to the BOH regarding fluoride; however, this organization is an advocacy for fluoridation. Ms. Federman will explore a community forum. The BOH members have continued to research this item and shared their findings, as well as reiterated their confidence in recommendations provided by the Center for Disease Control. The BOH recognizes disparities exist for vulnerable populations in the community in accessing oral health care. The BOH shared their commitment to consider this item; however, fluoridation will not be discussed at their June 2014 meeting. The BOH pointed out there have been items which have required discussions to continue over the course of a year in order to reach a decision. The BOH listened to comments brought forward by the audience including:
• Diet is critical to oral health. Foods and drinks with high acidity are accessible and consumed regularly by children.
• Teeth are weakened by drilling.
• People opposed to drinking fluoridated water can remove the mineral through a filtering process.
• Graphs were shared showing a trend in the prevalence of caries falling worldwide regardless of the level of fluoride in water supplies in the last 30 years.
• If a community forum is planned, the suggestion was made that a moderator could be useful.
• The suggestion was made to consider the approach utilized in Dallas, Texas for planning a community forum.
• Presenters for a community forum need to be knowledgeable and unbiased.
The following documents were available to the Board of Health during their scheduled meeting. These documents are available for review at the:
Amherst Health Department, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst, MA 01002
• Fluoride Discussion
1. Memorandum from Guilford Mooring, DPW Director
2. Northampton Records:
• April 9, 1957
3. Correspondence from Jonathan N. Evans
4. Is fluoridation of drinking water effective? (Jonathan Evans)
5. Graph: Most Harmful Drinks
6. Fluoride (MA Dental Society)
7. Information on fluoride (Dr. Hunt)
8. Study Reviews and summaries
9. Fourteen Oddball Reasons You’re Not Dead Yet
10. Oral Care and Toothbrushing Guidelines For Children (American Dental Association)
11. The Question of Water Fluoridation (Margaret Starkweather PhD)
12. List of organizations in support for Fluoride (Nancy Gilbert)