SOUTHWEST HARBOR — At the 1959 town meeting here, Kenny Hutchins was among the majority voting to have fluoride added to the public water supply to help prevent tooth decay.
He plans to vote the same way at town meeting May 7, when residents will reconsider that 54-year-old decision.
Anne Napier, a registered nurse and former director of the Mount Desert Nursing Association, said she has seen “many cases where good dental health has been related to fluoride in water.”
Erin Ritter, a dental hygienist, said that unless someone eats their toothpaste, they might not be getting enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
While fluoride is effective as a topical treatment, it has no effect on teeth when taken internally, countered Dick Atlee.
Marjorie Monteleon described the fluoride added to water supplies as a poison. “Fluoride is more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic,” she said.
Many public health officials and professional organizations maintain that fluoridation is both beneficial and safe.
Several people at Tuesday’s public hearing complained that the discussion of fluoride in the town’s April newsletter is biased in favor of discontinuing fluoridation. They cited an article by Annalies Hafford, an engineer with Olver Associates who monitors the town’s drinking water. She says in the article that fluoridation began “prior to the now widespread availability of proper dental care, education and dental care products containing fluoride.”
Retired physician Dick Dimond asked the board to publish a retraction of the statement. The selectmen said they would discuss that at their next meeting, on April 23.