A letter to the Wenham Board of Health hints a resident might request the town remove fluoride from the water supply through a warrant article at next year’s annual Town Meeting.
In a letter dated Oct. 17, 2018, Catherine Tinsley wrote seeking the Board of Health’s support in a proposed article which would request the town’s Water Department no longer added fluoride to tap water.
“I respectfully request the Board of Health’s support in the process to bring forward to the 2019 Town Meeting a warrant article to stop the addition of fluoride to the town’s water supply,” Tinsley wrote. “Please support bringing water to Wenham residents in its purest form, leaving the opting of adding supplements to the residents.”
Tinsley did not reply for comment when contacted by the Chronicle.
Her letter states Wenham residents can receive fluoride if they so desire through toothpaste, mouthwash, and general oral care. She wrote her personal conclusion was fluoride “is a harmful chemical.”
“Unfortunately,” she wrote. “By adding fluoride to the drinking water, there is no option to not ingest or be exposed to fluoride.”
Board of Health Chairman Andrew Ting said the board voted at its Nov. 7 meeting to not support the letter.
“We couldn’t support removing fluoride from the water,” Ting said.
This is the second time in recent years the Wenham Board of Health has discussed fluoridation of the town’s water.
The topic previously came up in 2015, when board member Gerald Donnellan brought up the topic for discussion after debates came forward in Topsfield and Rockport.
“The fact it was brought up a second time, my guess is it will go further a second time,” Ting said.
According to the Department of Public Health office of Oral Health, numerous benefits come with a fluoridated water supply. They include “fewer and less severe cavities, decreased need for fillings and tooth extractions, and reduced pain associated with tooth decay.”
A recent CDC report called fluoridation one of the ” great public health achievements” of the last century and pinpoints fluoridation of public water in reducing tooth decay.
Opponents to the practice say individuals should not be forced to consume fluoride in the public water supply and excess amounts are potentially toxic.
Wenham Water Superintendent Erik Mansfield said the town has fluoridated for decades. Recently, the Water Department adopted the revised federal regulations which reduced the total concentration of fluoride from 1 part per million to .7 parts per million in drinking water.
Wenham’s water system consists of two ground wells, which support a majority of the town. A small portion of the town is connected into the Beverly water system, which also fluoridates, near the Gordon College campus.
*Original article online at http://wenham.wickedlocal.com/news/20181114/local-seeks-to-remove-fluoride-from-wenham-water-supply