A resolution to cut fluoride out of Burlington’s public drinking water supply was passed Monday night in a 3-2 vote by the Burlington Board of Health. The final decision now rests with the Burlington City Council.
“Everybody believes fluoride is a good thing. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing,” Allen Soucie, a registered nurse and member of the Board of Health, said.
The practice started in 1954 in an effort to prevent tooth decay. Soucie said fluoride doesn’t need to be in the water because it’s already in foods we eat every day.
“This has to do with treating me as a person, so I don’t have dental cavaties,” Soucie said. “I don’t want to be treated by the city of Burlington. I want pure water.”
Soucie’s concern is the chemical’s health risks. New studies show certain individuals are at increased risk from fluoride’s toxic affects on people with diabetes, infants, kidney patients, and those with thyroid problems. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation urges against patients drinking any fluoridated water at all.
“The health department strongly supports continuing community water fluoridation,” Karen Garbarino, of the Vermont Department of Health, said.
Garbarino says fluoridating drinking water is one of the ten best public health practices out there. It gives access to everyone, regardless of health of income status.
“They get the benefits of fluoridation without having to see a dentist,” Garbarino said.
The Burlington City Council will have the final say in an issue it’s familiar with. In 2005, the council voted to reduce the amount of fluoride in the water.
Both the Vermont Board of Health and Vermont State Health Department to not recommend giving an infant under six months fluoridated water.