UTICA, NY – It’s an issue that’s been debated for years – whether adding hydrofluorosilicic acid (fluoride) in our water is good or bad for you.
Some parents and grass roots organizations say fluoridation makes children susceptible to tooth decay and other health problems. Government agencies say it helps prevent cavities.
We took a closer look at the pros, the cons, and the science behind it.
What everybody agrees about, the liquid fluoride is a neurotoxin at full concentration.
According to the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, our area is at 0.8 parts per million (PPM) fluoridation.
The agency says they follow EPA and NYS Health Department regulations.
According to them, liquid fluoride between 0.4 to 1.0 parts per million is just fine for humans.
Meanwhile the CDC has revised its recommendation, that communities fluoridate water at 0.7 PPM.
But some parents and groups, like the Fluoride Education Coalition of the Mohawk Valley say fluoridation does not work, and children are overdosed, resulting in permanent tooth damage.
“If I go to the doctor, he doesn’t force medication on me. Or of I go to the dentist, they don’t force me to do fluoride. But if you put it in my water, you’ve taken away my ability to say no. Water fluoridation is outdated, it hurts more people than it hurts,” said Whitesboro resident and organizer Cathy Sturgeon.
“I don’t want it at all. We’re supposed to be supplied with pure clean water. We’re being medicated without our consent, and that’s the most important thing. You cannot control it,” said Utica resident Ross Quinn, who has a long history of fighting for clean water rights. “You ask any doctor, you cannot give anybody the same dosage of medication. It depends on the age, sex, size and age of the individual.”
But MV Water Authority’s Executive Director, Pat Becher said, “We believe very firmly that there is a health benefit, it reduces cavities, and reduces tooth decay. So unless something changes and new research and evidence points to something contrary, it’s a practice we’ll see continuing.”
What about the science? According to a Utica area dentist, Dr. Justin Zalatan, fluoride works, but pubic health education works better.
“The problem with eliminating fluoride is the 30 percent of the population who are careless and don’t follow dental hygiene, which would inevitably cause more problems. But personally I think that there is no benefit in the fluoridation of water to people who look after their teeth. And there is no scientific benefit to ingesting it for any other purpose than to prevent cavities in people who don’t look after their teeth.”
Dr. Zalatan also says in recent years, he and other dentists in the area have seen an increase in the numbers of people who are drinking bottled water. But he can’t necessarily attribute that to lack of fluoride, and said it could be genetics, hygiene, or a number of other factors. He said there is really no clear evidence.
What’s the answer here?
From what we’ve learned, it still depends on which side of the debate you’re on.
If you want to learn more about the Fluoride Education Coalition of the Mohawk Valley: Click here
NYS Health Dept Regulations on Fluoride: Click here
EPA Regulations on Fluoride: Click here
Non-profits on Fluoride: Click here