BELLOWS FALLS — Whether or not the village water is safe to drink depends, according to the Trustees, if you see the glass as half-empty or half-full.
The public water meets all state standards and people who drink it are in no immediate danger, Municipal Manager Shane O’Keefe said at the Trustee meeting this week.
But as the Board debates the risks and benefits of adding fluoride to the system, opinions vary on how the element affects public health.
“We are not in an emergency situation,” Trustee Chairman Charlie Jarras said at the meeting on Tuesday. “We are not saying people should stop drinking the water today.”
The Trustees set Oct. 11 as the next public discussion on fluoridation.
The village adds fluoride to its water system. Over the past month, the Trustees have discussed stopping the fluoridation process.
Jarras said a number of people have called him asking if the water was safe.
At the meeting on Tuesday, Village Trustee Luise Light stopped short of saying that it was safe for children to continue drinking the water.
“It is not all right for young children to get a lot of fluoride,” Light said. “There are questions that should be looked at.”
Light, who is a nutritionist, is leading the charge for not adding fluoride to the water.
The Vermont Department of Health recommends fluoridating public water, though the village exceeds the state standard by four parts per million.
The Department of Health recommends one part per million and Bellows Falls adds 1.4 parts, according to village officials.
“The water meets all quality standards,” said O’Keefe.
“We are not talking about meeting the standards. We are talking about possibly changing the standards,” Light said.
The American Dental Association also supports the process.
At a Trustees meeting last month most of the critics and supporters came from out of town.
Those opposed to fluoridation say the element can cause health concerns. They say there are other ways to get fluoride, and some even argue whether or not fluoride can improve dental health.
Burlington recently discussed the process, and the Board of Health asked the city to reduce the amount of fluoride it uses.
In 2000, Brattleboro residents voted against adding fluoride to the water supply.
The Bellows Falls Trustees can make the decision on whether or not they want to stop adding fluoride to the water, though Board members have said the question is likely to go before the public for a vote.