The town of Plainfield voted Tuesday to remove fluoride from its drinking water after residents expressed concern about potential negative health effects.
The vote was part of an annual town meeting that included debate about setting up a hydroelectric dam, library funding and what to do about an aging road grader.
Fluoride is added to tap water in many U.S. cities and towns as a way of trying to prevent tooth decay. Those who oppose fluoridation believe it provides only a minor benefit to teeth and carries health risks that include bone problems.
Supporters of the fluoride ban here said too many questions existed about its possible hazards to keep it in Plainfield’s water system. The town’s residents have a choice to use toothpaste with fluoride or have their children get fluoride treatment in school, they said.
“Inadvertent dosing is probably the wrong way to go,” said Sarah O’Brien, 51, who has worked on environmental health issues.
Jeff Hunsberger, a health services director at the state Health Department, countered that no scientific study shows that fluoride has a negative effect on human health. The dentist at the Plainfield Health Center supported keeping fluoride in the water, he said.
“It’s not a movement to medicate someone against their will,” he said.
The fluoride vote came to the floor toward the end of the 4½ hour town meeting, in which about 150 people decided business and spending for the town of 1,300 residents.
Sitting in gray metal chairs, they raised hands to voice their opinions on everything from a new mentoring program for kids to whether the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant should be shut down. The town moderator, joined by town officials at a long table on the stage surrounded by red velvet curtains, helped administer the debate…