DOVER — Added in an effort to battle villains such as “The Cavity Creeps” from making holes in teeth, fluoride has been part of the city’s water since sometime in the 1980s.
Questions are now arising over potential health consequences related to the additive and whether it should continue to be distributed citywide.
“There are differing viewpoints on the importance of fluoride,” City Manager Mike Joyal said.
According to a recent report from the city’s Community Services Department, there is an average of .75 parts per million of the fluoride added to the water supply.
Joyal said the city follows recommendations made by the Environmental Protection Agency.
He explained that adding the fluoride had been recommended by various agencies over the years and it was finally added, following a referendum vote, by residents in favor of adding it. That would also be the only way to discontinue its addition.
Joyal said the addition of fluoride is also something recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
On its web site, regarding community water fluoridations, the CDC states, “For 65 years, community water fluoridation has been a safe and healthy way to effectively prevent tooth decay. CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
The proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age, the web site indicates, helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.
Joyal said at this point there has been no effort made to have a referendum.
However, Councilor Catherine Cheney, would like to get the referendum vote on the 2015 ballot to discontinue the addition of fluoride, and said the contaminant is a developmental neurotoxin and has been linked to a number of health issues including Alzheimer’s disease. A simple Google search provides web pages linking fluoride to other health issues such as thyroid disease, various cancers, and bone deformities.
Cheney said fluoride has also been shown in some studies to actually lower children’s IQ by 7 percent.
“And, therefore, it increases the taxpayers cost in not only adding it to water, but later on,” she said, speaking of addressing any developmental issues later in a resident’s life.
The question, she said, has to be added on the ballot in a municipal year and has to be asked a certain way so as to produce an answer of “no” from voters in favor of removing fluoride.
She says the question regarding fluoride and its use in the city’s water supply must be asked as, “Shall fluoride be used in the public water system?”
Anyone wishing to gain information or join the fluoride project with Cheney can sign up on her web site at catherinecheney.org