DOVER — A member of the Utilities Commission wants to add a question to November’s ballot on whether the city should continue adding fluoride to the public drinking water.
Utilities Commissioner Norman Allie made an initial presentation to the board at their regular meeting on Monday. Allie will make a formal presentation at June’s meeting where the commission may take a vote on whether make a recommendation to the City Council, which would decide if the question to the ballot.
Allie said city voters first approved adding fluoride to the drinking water in 1987, which the city began in 1990.
“It was a long time ago,” he said. “A lot has changed in 30 years.”
It was the span of time on which Allie focused.
“People who live here now — we have a new generation of citizens, and many of them may not want this,” he said.
“I don’t want to engage in the merits of fluoride,” he said. “That’s not our charter. I want to make that clear. There is a legitimate debate (on removing fluoride from drinking water). That’s No. 1. No. 2, there is a lot of new information surrounding this subject that was not around in 1987. No. 3, the idea of suspending fluoridation is not out of the ordinary.”
In a handout, Allie listed 18 communities in Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont that have discontinued fluoridation since 1993. The most recent in the area was a Nov. 2016 vote in the water district that supplies drinking water to Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells, Maine. The towns voted nearly 2-1 to stop adding fluoride to public drinking water.
Allie said in 2012, New Hampshire was the first state in the country to pass a law that mandated operators of public water supplies that are fluoridated to post a notice in the water system’s consumer confidence report. The law states, “Your public water supply is fluoridated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if your child under the age of six months is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance of dental fluorosis. Consult your child’s health care provider for more information.”
Dover fluoridates the water by adding fluorosilicic acid to the water supply. Dover Utilities Superintendent Bill Boulanger said the chemical is dangerous from a worker safety standpoint.
“It’s hazardous for us to use, so we would not be opposed to getting rid of it,” he said during the meeting. He said after the meeting that workers have to protect themselves, including wearing face shields when handling the chemical.
“It’s worse than battery acid,” he said. Boulanger estimated the city spends about $40,000 on adding fluoride to the water yearly.
In other Utilities Commission news, the board unanimously approved drafting a resolution for the City Council that would recommend changing the name of a water well in Dover to the Lavoie Well in honor of Pete Lavoie, the past community services director who worked for the city for more than 30 years. The current name well name is Dover Pudding Hill 1, or DPH1 in Community Services Department lingo.
“He was instrumental in water expansion and buying properties and having properties tested for additional water sites,” said Douglas Steele II, the director of Community Services, said in support of the resolution. “We think it would be a good way to honor Pete for all his time and service.”
• Original article online at http://www.fosters.com/news/20170515/commission-to-consider-status-of-fluoride-in-drinking-water