Lafayette may have been acting ahead of the proverbial “learning curve” last year when it made the decision to stop adding fluoride to the city’s water supply.
A state legislator who is also the only practicing medical doctor in the elected body has called on hundreds of water districts to stop adding fluoride to drinking water, citing a recommendation from the American Dental Association warning mothers to avoid using tap water to mix baby formula.
State Representative Joey Hensley MD, a Republican from Hohenwald, said he mailed out 250 letters last week, including one sent to Lafayette Water System Superintendent Gene Reid, stating that “…much information is now coming out showing that the health risks associated with drinking fluoridated water significantly outweigh fluoride’s limited cavity action.”
“I’m just trying to bring it more to the front, because more and more people are concerned about it. They don’t have a choice now,” Hensley told a Nashville newspaper.
Hensley said he was concerned about low-income mothers who may have to mix baby formula with bottled water, which would be costly.
Water districts across the state, like Lafayette’s, decide whether to add fluoride to their water or not to do so. Lafayette stopped adding the fluoride chemicals called silicofluorides to the local water supply last year, and held a special meeting earlier this year to allow both sides of the issue to be aired before the public.
Lafayette Mayor Bill Wells said this Monday that he believed the city had acted wisely in removing fluoride from the water supply. “They’ve found it only works ‘topically’, that is just on the surface of the teeth while it is in the mouth, not as a supplement that acts to strengthen teeth and bones from the inside.”
Hensley’s letter cites several studies which warn of possible side effects of the accumulation of fluoride in the body, and a report last year from the Center for Disease Control which “revealed that 32 percent of school kids now have some form of dental fluorosis-staining of the teeth-and that moderate and severe dental fluorosis affects nearly 2% of whites and 3-4% of minority folks ages 6-39.”
Rep. Hensley said he has no plans to introduce legislation on the subject, but that he was just “…trying to bring it more to the front, because more and more people are concerned about it. (Many people) don’t have a choice now.”