MONROE – Union County commissioners have directed staff to draft a text amendment that would prohibit water fluoridation from sources the county controls.

If the amendment is approved, this would apply to the Yadkin River Water Treatment Plant but not the Catawba River Water Treatment Plant, which is jointly owned by Lancaster County.

Commissioners also directed staff to schedule a public hearing to get additional feedback from the public about this action. Residents like Abigail Prado, Maria Reid and Harold Schmoecker have expressed concerns about fluoride in drinking water during previous public comment portions of meetings.

Mark E. Moss DDS, who serves as an associate professor at East Carolina University, told commissioners Jan. 16  there is research that supports that community water fluoridation is safe. He pointed to studies given to commissioners that identify a high level of risk when there is a high level of fluoride.

“The levels that we are exposed to in community water fluoridation in the U.S. are much lower than those that are in some of these studies,” Moss said.

They also heard from an officer with the North Carolina Academy of Pediatric Dentistry but the words that resonated most with commissioners came from Waxhaw chiropractor Nick Niday.

“We say it’s going to help prevent dental caries or cavities but the main cause of tooth decay is not cleaning your teeth, snacking, refined carbs, sugary drinks,” he said. “Most cavities are going to be found nin lower income neighborhoods with poor nutrition and lack of access to a  dentist.”

Niday said citizens don’t have informed consent when it comes to this form of medical treatment.

“Some of these public health points are compelling but for me, ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about consent – informed consent,” Commissioner David Williams said. “”There are folks out there that are believers in fluoride and want to use it and believe it’s an efficacious product for dental health. There are many who don’t feel that way.”

Commissioners convene next on Feb. 2.

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