Shiloh Water Authority will be removing fluoride from its water in West Manchester after receiving approval Wednesday from the state Department of Environmental Protection, authority officials said.
Fluoridation will cease in the authority’s water on Aug. 31, officials announced Wednesday night.
“The general feeling was that there is enough fluoride available nowadays,” said water authority Manager John Horvatinovic. “I thought they made the right decision.”
Customers will be notified 30 days before fluoride is removed, said Jim Bentzel, the water authority board’s chairperson.
Shiloh Water Authority serves more than 9,000 residents in West Manchester.
After reconsidering the push for removal in January, the water authority’s board voted 3-1 in May to continue pursing the removal of fluoride.
Board member Rick Steinfeld voted against removal.
An ongoing debate between residents and officials citing reasons both for and against fluoridation has continued for months.
A public hearing in February brought people of both sides weighing in, including residents, dentists and activists.
“There is a crisis with cavities, and dental decay is an epidemic,” said York City-based dentist Joe Mountain in the meeting. “Fluoride in water is one of the few tools we have. It is very safe. The history is there; the evidence is there.”
The CDC has called fluoridation of water systems one of the most successful public health initiatives in the country’s history. Fluoride has been shown to prevent cavities and have an overall positive effect on dental health.
Several of Shiloh Water Authority’s board members have been outspoken about their reasons for removing fluoride, including member Lee Woodmansee, who said chemicals don’t belong in the water.
“We should not be putting chemicals in the water,” Woodmansee said. “Why should we add anything that we don’t have to?”