MEADVILLE — “People need care. They need care, not fluoride.”
That is one of the many points Clean Water Meadville was trying to convey to the public on Saturday during a petition-signing event at the Market House.
Sometime this year, the Meadville Area Water Authority will vote on the subject of water fluoridation for Meadville and portions of Vernon, West Mead and Woodcock townships.
Clean Water Meadville is against the move and was seeking the support of residents during Second Saturday festivities.
Just after 11 a.m., the organization had about 25 signatures. Clean Water Meadville also has an online posted at thepetitionsite.com where it — as of Saturday afternoon — had 84 signatures.
“When the drums were playing, they were flocking here,” said Beth Chandler, a member of Clean Water Meadville, from the organization’s booth which sat just right of the stage where musical acts were performing througout the day.
“It’s not safe,” Chandler said of the motion to add fluoride to Meadville’s water. “We’re trying to get the word out that we don’t want fluoride.”
Meadville Smiles, an organization behind the use of fluoridation, has stated that fluoridating community water supplies is one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities.
“They are trying to limit the number of patients going to the emergency room with tooth-related problems,” said Walter Knapp, a member of Clean Water Meadville.
But Chandler said it isn’t fluoride that residents need, but rather regular dental maintenance, which she said many individuals can’t get because of insurance reasons.
“It’s care they need,” Chandler said.
Tom Deighton was at the Market House in support of Clean Water Meadville and has done ample research on fluoride. Deighton said that while he resides in Linesville, he and his family make frequent visits to Meadville and he does not want fluoride in its water.
“Any woman of childbearing age should understand that fluoride will not help her developing child,” Deighton claimed.
Deighton cited information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is available on its website, that says fluoride intake from water and other sources when teeth are forming can result in dental fluorosis, a developmental disturbance of dental enamel.
“Fluoride is readily available however you want it,” Deighton said. “But no one should be forced to use it.”
Clean Water Meadville will be back at Second Saturday on Aug. 9 for those wishing to sign the petition. For more information on both sides of the fluoride issue, visit meadvillesmiles.com and cleanwatermeadville.org.