RUTLAND, Vt. – Town Meeting Day is a little over a month away. One of the big issues on the ballot in Rutland is whether the city should continue adding fluoride to its water.
Jack Crowther will not drink from his faucet. He doesn’t like what’s in the water flowing from it.
“The more I’ve read about it, the more strongly I’ve felt that it is a bad practice,” said Crowther.
It’s fluoride that’s keeping Crowther away. He buys bottled water from the grocery store. He only uses tap water to wash his dishes.
“We say fluoride is a systemic poison,” said Crowther.
Crowther joins other Rutland residents in the fight to stop the fluoridation of Rutland’s water system. It’s a fight they’re taking to the polls.
On Town Meeting Day, Rutland residents will be asked if the commissioner of Public Works, Jeff Wennberg, should fluoridate the public water supply of Rutland. It’s a practice that’s been in place for 30 years.
“This is a long-standing practice and if you like your water and you want to continue to see it treated the way it has historically been treated, then you want to vote yes. If you would like to see it changed and would like fluoride taken out, then you would want to vote no,” said Wennberg.
Those who wish to keep fluoride in the water system say that in the 1930s, scientists found that children who drank water with naturally high levels of fluoride had less tooth decay. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation as a great public health achievement of the 20th century.
Wennberg knows that there is a push to stop fluoridation in Rutland, but he’s going to wait for the votes.
“I have to be convinced that the vote was definitive,” said Wennberg.
He says if enough people in Rutland want fluoride out of their water, he’ll do it.
People like Crowther who have found other ways to protest fluoride in the meantime.
“I called my dentist’s office today and canceled my appointment for a cleaning. And I have who I consider to be a very good dentist,” said Crowther.
Crowther says his dentist is pro-fluoridation, and until there’s less fluoride in the water, he’ll postpone his checkups.
Voters will say “yes” or “no” to continued fluoridation on Town Meeting Day, March 1.