BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. –Village voters decided by a wide margin to continue adding fluoride to the public water supply.
The vote came at a village meeting on Monday.
At a series of hearings, some residents challenged the long-held assumption that fluoride was a safe way to reduce tooth decay. They claimed that new research showed the fluoride may not reduce cavities and increased risks of other health problems such as bone cancer.
State officials said there’s evidence that fluoride may cause brittle bones but at much higher concentrations than those allowed in drinking water.
“More than that the health effects included — these are risks which are strong associations — bone cancer risks, thyroid disease risks, risks that relate to bone fractures,” said Village Trustee Luise Light, a nutritionist.
But one villager said fluoridating water was one of the 10 greatest medical advances of the 20th century.
“My husband and I grew up in Bellows Falls before fluoride was added to the water,” said resident Nancy McAuliffe. “We both have a long dental history of cavities, crowns, extractions. Our four children grew up in the ’70s and ’80s in communities with fluoridated water and between the four of them there are two cavities.”