Shaler commissioners are expected to vote tonight to keep Shaler’s water supply fluoride-free.
Shaler’s water system, which provides more than 30,000 people with water in most of Shaler, Etna, and parts of Millvale, O’Hara and Hampton, has never been fluoridated.
Commissioner Bill Cross said he expected commissioners to follow last months’ water committee recommendation to keep the water fluoride-free when they meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the township municipal building.
Since commissioners decided last March to consider putting fluoride in the water, the township has received dozens of letters from opponents of fluoride from as far away as Hawaii and Ireland.
Dental and public health professionals generally agree that fluoride administered to public water supplies is a safe way of preventing cavities.
But a three member committee of commissioners decided in January to keep the supply free of fluoride. The commissioners view fluoride as a medicine and do not want to add it to the water, Cross said.
“I am not a doctor,” Cross said. “I’m not going to choose a medication to prescribe for someone’s family. It’s pretty simple, if you want your kid to have fluoride, buy the tablets.”
Shaler is currently one of the nine water suppliers in Allegheny County who don’t add fluoride to drinking water. Countywide, 93% of residents drink fluoridated water.
Cross said that despite a handful of protests from dental professionals, few of whom lived in Shaler, there has been little response from township residents who favor adding fluoride.
“I did speak with a few people. I invited them to come, and no one bothered to come to the meeting,” Cross said. “I really don’t believe it’s something our residents want.”