Regarding fluoride — I do have personal feelings, but to be quite honest they have nothing to do with the question — is fluoride good or harmful to the body? If I asked 10 people to do research on the issue the findings would probably be split as to good or bad effects. I think the true debate is what is the role of government and do they have the right to force individuals to ingest a substance that many believe is harmful?
Where an actual referendum has occurred, the vote in other communities usually has been no fluoride around 60 percent and for fluoride 40 percent. So one could assume our community would follow the same trend. Even if it was a 50-50 split, is it right for a government-appointed (not elected) body to ignore the basic rights of the individuals?
The 40 percent who may want fluoride has a number of ways to get it — toothpaste, mouthwash and school fluoride programs, for example. Those who want no fluoride in their drinking water would be forced to purchase a filtering system or buy bottled water.
Many dentists will not accept Medicaid. That is an issue for children in poverty. Think of the thought process. We won’t treat you because we don’t accept Medicaid — by the way drink this water.
Agent Orange, depleted uranium, water contamination on military installations, burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq — none were supposed to be harmful to those of us who served. The reality is that all are and the federal government pays millions in compensation. Could you imagine if municipalities and state governments were found liable for adding fluoride to water? They could not pay the vast amounts of money it would take to make plaintiffs whole.
Opioids have a limited effect on dental pain. I’m fairly sure if we stopped prescribing them the number of people showing up to clinics for dental pain would drop.
Lastly, I can’t fathom that those who dutifully battle for the basic rights of individuals are willing to violate the same rights of those who choose not to be forced to ingest fluoridated water.
Editor’s note: John Amato is a Crawford County commissioner.