The Greer Commission of Public Works is seeking input from customers and the citizens of Greer on the fluoridation of drinking water, which has been hailed as a significant public-health achievement but is not as necessary as it once was.
A series of public forums to include presentations from experts about CPW’s treatment processes will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 and Sept. 1 at the Cannon Centre in downtown Greer. Question-and-answer sessions will follow the presentations, and the public is invited to speak.
Another forum will be held Sept. 9 at Blue Ridge High School for customers of the Blue Ridge Rural Water District, which buys its water wholesale from CPW.
The input is sought after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in April changed its recommended fluoride dose to .7 milligrams per liter from a range of .7 milligrams to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
The CPW currently fluoridates to recommended levels but could ultimately enact a change.
“Fluoride is one of the most important components of dental health ever discovered, and we know that,” said Jeff Tuttle, CPW’s general manager. “However, with HHS making these changes, we thought now is a good time to get input from our customers on the continued fluoridation of our community’s drinking water. Fluoride is prevalent in many products we use and consume daily.”
The Department of Health and Human Services still recommends drinking-water system fluoridation, but the decision ultimately rests with individual system operators.
Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. As a result, there has been an increase in fluorosis, which is caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride and in most cases manifests as barely visible lacy-white markings or spots on tooth enamel.
The federal department’s new recommended level is designed to maintain the protective decay prevention benefits of fluoridation while reducing the occurrence of dental fluorosis.
“We are committed to transparency, and we believe that the decision to fluoridate should be revisited in 2015, and that we can decide what direction to go as a community,” Tuttle wrote in an editorial published in The Greenville News. “Ultimately, our board of commissioners will decide if we continue fluoridation, reduce our fluoride amounts, or discontinue the practice all together. Their decision will be based both on our expertise in water treatment and on the feedback we get from you, our valued customer.”
More information can be found at greercpw.com and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org