WALDEN – The Village of Walden’s plan to remove fluoride from the water supply by March 1 may be delayed, following a meeting with the state Department of Health.
The Village Board approved a resolution to stop adding fluoride to the water supply in October, citing concerns about the health of citizens.
But Dr. Dionne Richardson, state dental director for the state Department of Health, stressed during a meeting with the Village Board on Monday that the state is in favor of fluoridation.
A state law passed in 2015 requires a municipality to consult with health professionals before removing the chemical from the public water supply.
The law also requires the village to provide a justification for the change, alternatives to fluoridation and a summary of their consultations.
Richardson told the Village Board that its resolution was deficient in its summary of consultations.
In addition, the consultation with the state DOH also should have happened before the board voted on the issue, according to Megan Mutolo, attorney for the DOH.
Village Manager John Revella said the village’s attorney interpreted the law differently, to mean the village did not need to consult with the DOH before the vote.
The village’s justification for removing fluoride, submitted to the state in November, quoted the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, saying: “Given the elevated number of fluoride sources and the increased rates of fluoride intake in the American population, which have risen substantially since water fluoridation began in the 1940s, it has become a necessity to reduce and work toward eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride exposure …”
Richardson told the board that studies touting the negative effects of water fluoridation are “unfounded.”
Fluoride was previously removed from Walden’s water in 2010, but added back to the water supply in 2014, Revella said.
The topic was revisited after new board members expressed concern about the possible negative health impacts on consumers.
Walden is one of six systems in the county that add fluoride to the water supply, said Chris Ericson, deputy commissioner of health for Orange County.
The Village of Highland Falls, the City of Middletown, the City of Newburgh, parts of the Town of Newburgh and West Point currently add fluoride to the water.
Fluoride is already found in the village’s water between 0.2 and 0.3 milligrams per liter, according to documents filed with the state.
The village then adds fluorosilicic acid at 0.4 milligrams per liter, bringing the total amount of fluoride in the village’s water supply to 0.7 milligrams per liter.
That is the optimal level, as recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and the state DOH.
The village spends between $10,000 and $15,000 annually to add fluorosilicic acid to the supply.
Revella said the board will consult with its attorney, David Donovan, and determine if new documents must be filed with the state and if the March 1 deadline for removing fluoride will need to be delayed.
Fluoride in the water