To hear the opposing sides tell it, fluoridation is a life or death matter. Proponents who spoke at the Greater Johnstown Water Authority public hearing told a story of fluoride as a marvelous health victory for the masses. They compared removing fluoride from the water system to banning vaccinations — an unthinkable catastrophe that will send us back into the dental Dark Ages.
Opponents, meanwhile, say fluoride is slowly poisoning us, creating thyroid problems and calcifying pineal glands. One man went as far as to accuse the water authority board of committing genocide by allowing it in the water system.
Let’s all pump the brakes a bit.
Because both sides of this debate can cite page after page of university studies supporting various facets of their viewpoint, more research may be needed to definitively answer all questions regarding fluoride. So the way to settle this might be to look instead at the financial and ethical aspects.
From a financial standpoint, removing fluoride should save the ratepayers money in the long term. The Greater Johnstown Water Authority will need to spend, board members say, more than $400,000 over the next decade to continue the practice.
As for the ethical aspect, it’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration considers fluoride a drug. Is it appropriate for the water company to medicate from the faucet?
Even if all the studies supporting fluoridation are 100 percent accurate, this is a dubious claim. How would you feel if pharmaceutical company-funded research showed that we’d all be more mellow and productive if there was Valium in the water supply? Fact is that most Somerset County residents do not drink fluoridated water. And there is not a public health epidemic as a result.
Residents of Conemaugh Township who currently drink fluoridated water will survive just fine without it. Members of the Greater Johnstown Water Authority should do the fiscally and ethically responsible thing.
Flush fluoride from the system.