Members of the Orono and Veazie town councils listen as representatives from the Maine Oral Health Coalition Judy Feinstein and Patrick Rowe, a dentist, give information about adding fluoride into the water supply that is shared between the two communities, Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Orono and Veazie are revisiting a pre-pandemic debate over adding fluoride to the water supply that serves the two towns, which has had the mineral since the early 1960s.

The Orono and Veazie town councils met Monday night in a joint session to hear from opponents and proponents of adding fluoride to the public water system. Both councils would have to agree to put a question on the ballot allowing voters to decide whether the decades-old practice should continue, but Orono councilors who spoke Monday night appeared reluctant to take that step.

The debate stems from the request of an Orono resident in recent years who asked the Orono-Veazie Water District to stop adding fluoride after he accidentally swallowed it when his niece, a dental student, practiced on him. Across the country, dozens of cities have voted in recent years to stop adding fluoride to their water supplies.