TROY — Borough council once again sunk its teeth into a topic that it has visited in the past: a House bill to fluoridate public water.
During its last meeting, council discussed House Bill 1649 that would provide for the fluoridation of public water. According to a description on the meeting agenda, it would apply to public water suppliers with 500 domestic connections or more. It would require the supplier to add a measured amount of fluoride to the water supply.
According to the agenda, the bill was introduced in 2007 and is currently in the appropriations committee.
“This would have a negative financial effect on the borough that would have to be passed on to the ratepayers,” the agenda notes.
Borough manager Dan Close said council has asked for a resolution stating its position on water fluoridation to be sent to legislators. It would possibly be voted on in January.
Close said he will write the resolution opposing fluoridation, but, until it’s voted on, council’s position can’t be stated officially.
“Until they make a decision there is no decision,” he said.
However, at least one council member, Brian Laverty, is opposed to fluoridation.
“Number one, it would be an unfunded mandate which would cost the community,” he said, when asked for comment. “Moreover, from a scientific standpoint, there are a lot of people who say fluoride will not prevent tooth decay. Studies show that those countries in Europe after World War II that never had fluoride in their water supply, their decrease in dental decay went down the same rate as the U.S., which started using fluoridation. The reason for the similar correlation of the decrease has been because there’s just been better basic dental health and practices after World War II.”
He said he would vote for the resolution.
Laverty provided a letter from Dr. Paul Connett from “Fluoride Action Network.” It reads:
“While dentists in the U.S. continue to treat fluoride as if it only affects one tissue in the body (the teeth), researchers around the world continue to study fluoride’s effects on other areas in the body. Of particular concern is a growing number of studies suggesting that fluoride can interfere with the brain, particularly the developing brain of the fetus, infant, and toddler.”
In a letter to the editor published in “The Daily Review” last year, Close stated his position:
“All drugs have side effects and fluoride is no exception (just read the warning label on fluoride toothpaste). In a recent article in ‘Keystone Tap’ — a publication of Pa. rural water — it was noted that (according to the latest review from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC), exposure to fluoride may weaken bones, cause joint pain, disrupt the thyroid and damage the brain). It was also noted that even the American Dental Association recently issued an advisory that infants should not drink fluoridated water — due to the risk of developing dental fluorosis.
”From the point of unfunded government mandates, managers of water utilities constantly struggle to provide the highest possible quality product at the most reasonable cost,” his letter continued. “Who do you think is going to pay for not only the fluoride, but the system(s) necessary to introduce the appropriate dose of fluoride into a constantly fluctuating water supply?”
The copy of the House bill notes that the Centers for Disease Control has lauded community water fluoridation as “one of the ten most significant public health achievements of the 20th century.”
It says the proposed act, which would be called the Community Water Fluoridation Act, is meant to be a preventive measure to reduce dental disease and contain health care costs.
“This act will benefit all Pennsylvanians, especially those who do not have regular dental care,” the bill reads. “This act will also help to reduce the 52,000,000 hours lost by children who miss school due to toothaches and other oral health complications.”