DUXBURY – The Board of Health took no action last week on a request that the town discontinue the use of fluoride in its water.
The board has the authority to make the decision unilaterly. Board members decided, though, to wait until after the March 9 Town Meeting to make a decision. At Town Meeting, voters will be asked if they support taking the necessary steps to discontinue the use of fluoride.
Duxbury Residents for Fluoride Choice members Peter Capraro and Dianne Siroonian are proponents of the citizens petition warrant article that, in effect, authorizes the Board of Selectmen to petition the Legislature to place a question on the election ballot in 2014.
Capraro said the freedom to choose is foremost. Even if residents don’t want fluoride in their water, he said, they don’t have the option of opting out.
“This is about the ability to choose,” he said. “It’s really a medical ethics question. We’re for each person having a choice.”
Siroonian said individuals should have a right to decide what supplements and medications they take and not have them forced on them, and it’s the same with fluoride.
Additionally, she said, people are already getting too much fluoride in their diets. She said more than 40 percent of adolescents in the United States have fluorosis, a physical sign of excessive fluoride intake, citing a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control.
Siroonian said a startling number of studies that have come out since the town first starting fluoridating Duxbury’s water demonstrate various health risks associated with excessive or long-term fluoride ingestion related to thyroid issues, brittle bones, cognitive changes, immune system dysfunction and other health issues.
She said individuals should have the chance to do their own research, taking into account their specific health issues and speaking to their doctors and dentists to make a decision that is right for them.
The opposing viewpoint, also expressed to the Board of Health by two local dentists, is that fluoridated water is very helpful in reducing the number and severity of cavities. Fluoride supplementation is stopped when the enamel of the teeth is formed, which is around 12.
An informational session sponsored by Duxbury Residents for Fluoride Choice will be held at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Duxbury Free Library.
“We need to increase the awareness on this issue,” Siroonian said.