TROY — A House bill for the fluoridation of public water has set the teeth of some Troy Borough officials on edge.
House Bill No. 1649 calls for the Community Water Fluoridation Act. It would apply to the fluoride content of public water from public water suppliers with 500 domestic water connections or more.
“Hello — that’s us,” Dan Close, Troy borough manager, told council at its last meeting.
When the fluoride content is less than 0.7 milligrams per liter of fluoride, fluoride would be added to maintain a fluoride content of between 0.7 milligrams per liter and 1.2 milligrams per liter.
The House bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services on June 27.
State Steve Rep. Barrar, from the 160th District, who introduced the bill, said it was moved out of the committee before the summer session ended.
“It’s on the schedule (to be voted on),” he said.
When asked for comment, Close said he was opposed to the government “forcing people to take medication through the water system.” He also thought it would be another example of an unfunded mandate.
He told council, “there’s a whole lot of literature out there about fluoridation and its positive effects and possible negative effects, and there’s always fundamental issues of whether the government ought to be putting fluoride in people’s drinking water instead of letting them fluoride their teeth any way they want.” He said council needs to be prepared to form a position.
“People can go to their dentist and get fluoride if they want it,” council member Brian Laverty said.
The copy of the House bill notes that the Centers for Disease Control has lauded community water fluoridation as “one of the ten most significant public health achievements of the 20th century.”
It says the proposed act is meant to be a preventive measure to reduce dental disease and contain health care costs.
“This act will benefit all Pennsylvanians, especially those who do not have regular dental care,” the bill reads. “This act will also help to reduce the 52,000,000 hours lost by children who miss school due to toothaches and other oral health complications.”
“It’s been proven there’s absolutely a great benefit to the populace as far as the cost of dental care goes,” Barrar said, when asked for comment.
The bill notes the fluoride content specified in the bill would be in accordance with regulations adopted by the state Department of Environmental Protection in consultation with the Department of Health, and at a level recommended by the United States Public Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.