On April 16 at the annual town election the voters of Oak Bluffs will face a ballot question asking whether the fluoridation of the town water supply should continue or be discontinued. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, has been added to the public water supply in Oak Bluffs continuously, for the last 24 years, since April 1991.

The usefulness (for decreasing tooth decay) as well as the safety of community water fluoridation has been proven by careful review of scientists in the United States for 70 years. In 1945 the U. S. Public Health Service adjusted the fluoride in the city of Grand Rapids, Mich., from a naturally occurring trace level to one part fluoride per million parts of water. Shortly thereafter, two other U.S. cities and one Canadian city were artificially fluoridated, with three nearby and similarly sized cities not fluoridated, in carefully controlled trials. These controlled studies of the usefulness and safety of community water fluoridation continue to this present day. In 2005, 170 million, or 67 per cent of Americans, were drinking fluoridated water. The terrible diseases that some people think are caused by this addition of fluoride to community drinking water have not occurred in the fluoridated cities at any greater rate than in the nearby control cities. On the other hand, dental caries (tooth decay) is reduced by 20 to 40 per cent in the fluoridated cities.

The vast majority of doctors and scientifically trained professionals endorse the safety and value of this important public health measure. Unwavering support for water fluoridation from medical and dental organizations include the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association,

the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, the National Head Start Association, the National Downs Syndrome Society, the World Health Organization, every U.S. Surgeon General and every president of the United States since and including President John F. Kennedy.

The cost of water fluoridation in Oak Bluffs is about $15,000 per year. This works out to approximately $3.30 per resident per year, less than the cost of the smallest bottle of fluoride rinse.

In order to keep the town water supply fluoridated, we, the undersigned, urge Oak Bluffs voters to attend the annual town election on April 16 and answer the ballot question: “Should the Town of Oak Bluffs cease adding fluoride to the drinking water?” with a vote of no.

Bruce E. Golden, DDS

The above letter was also signed by the following: Karen Gear, DDS, Garrett Orazem, DMD, Brian S. Cullen, DMD, Sanford Nadelstein, DDS, David S. Samuels, DMD, Helene F. Schaeffer, DMD, Robert W. Herman, DMD, Michael L. Goldfein, MD, John R. Lamb, MD, Melanie A. Miller, MD, Gerry Yukevich, MD, Henry Neider, MD, Julia Stunkel, MD, Dana Guyer, MD, Beth M. Donnelly, MD, Peter J. Laursen, MD, and Jennifer Kingsley, biologist at GE Healthcare and Oak Bluffs parent.