There is a move afoot across the nation to stop fluoridation of public water systems, and Clarksburg is the latest municipality to ponder the issue.
Two members of the Clarksburg Water Board — Charles Thayer and Paul Howe — are leaning toward voting to end fluoridation of the city’s water.
Despite the endorsement of the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the American Dental Association, there are some who claim fluoride does more harm than good and should be removed from public water supplies.
Here is what the ADA says: “Research shows that drinking optimally fluoridated water is one of the safest and most cost-effective public health measures for preventing, controlling, and in some cases reversing, tooth decay.”
Thayer and Howe feel otherwise.
“I think toxins cause us a lot of bodily harm,” Thayer told The Exponent Telegram.
“This is just maybe an opportunity to make the water a little cleaner, a little safer to drink,” Howe said.
The fact is, we’ve been drinking fluoridated water for generations.
Back in the 1950s, when it started in earnest, there were some who grumbled that fluoridation was a communist plot. Today, critics say it’s government foisting a medical treatment on us against our will.
In Clarksburg, fluoride accounts for only .6 parts per billion, well within the parameters set by the American Water Works Association. We have a modern water treatment plant that accurately controls the amount of fluoride that is put in the system.
In the decades since fluoridation began, medical professionals have documented dramatic drops in tooth decay. The ADA says fluoridation accounts for anywhere from 20 to 40 percent reductions in tooth decay.
We wish those who are in such a lather about fluoride in our water could get equally exercised about antibiotics and hormones in our beef and poultry and the toxins being belched from our smokestacks. But instead, they seem to be more concerned about trace amounts of fluoride in our drinking water that just might mean fewer visits to the dentist.
If the Water Board truly considers fluoride to be a danger to society, then it should do as other municipalities have done across the nation — let the voters decide.
Clarksburg should put the issue on a ballot in the next city election. This is too important a decision to be made by just two individuals, one of whom is not even an elected member.
However it would end up, at least the voters — the consumers — would have their say on the matter.