ROCKPORT — Ever thought about the amount of fluoride in town tap water?
Many residents likely haven’t, but a group has petitioned to have an article put on the fall Town Meeting warrant for residents to consider limiting the substance in the water supply.
The Rockport portion of the Cape Ann Fluoride Action Network — which has members in Gloucester, as well — has collected more than 200 signatures on its petition. Only 100 signatures need to be on a petition for an article to be put on the Town Meeting warrant for September.
The town Board of Health was scheduled to discuss the issue at its monthly meeting Monday.
The Board of Selectmen is set to meet tonight, and Chairwoman Sarah Wilkinson said members of the network are scheduled to make a presentation. Up until this point, she said the board has not discussed the issue.
Karen Tysver, a member of the network that helped gather the petition signatures, said she has many concerns with putting fluoride in tap water.
“There are a couple of issues with fluoride that really jump to my attention,” she said Monday. “One of them is the fact that fluoride is used in the water as a medication.”
Tysver said it was originally put in to combat tooth decay, but people don’t have a say in whether or not they want to take it, and some could be taking a larger dose than others.
“I’m an active person, and I drink a lot of water,” Tysver said, adding that she might get four or five times the dosage as someone who doesn’t drink tap water.
Tysver pointed to multiple studies — some posted on the Cape Ann Fluoride Action Network’s Facebook page — that show that putting fluoride in water doesn’t actually combat tooth decay and can lead to different health conditions.
A chart constructed by the World Health Organization, a portion of the United Nations concerned with health all over the globe, shows that of industrialized nations that use fluoride compared to those that don’t, the amounts of tooth decay is no lower for those that do compared to those that don’t.
Tysver said the network started up in April.
Since then, the Times has received multiple letters to the editor regarding the issue. While several were from people outside the area, former Selectwoman Joanne Wile is also pushing for her fellow residents to consider the issue.
Along with suggesting that residents use baking soda to clean their teeth as people did during the Great Depression of the 1930s when toothpaste was a commodity for the rich, Wile said she feels it is dangerous to people’s health.
Wilkinson said in an email Monday that the selectmen have not seen the petition and are waiting for more information about what the group wants when members make the presentation tonight.
Anyone interested in seeing the presentation firsthand can go to the selectmen’s meeting at 7 tonight in Town Hall.
“It’s time to look at it,” Tysver said. “There’s so many times we’ve looked at things that we once thought were good.”