REHOBOTH — City officials have announced plans to add fluoride to the area’s water supply, a move they believe will make it healthier.
Effective Oct. 28, the Rehoboth Beach Public Water System will begin introducing fluoride into its drinking water to comply with a 2004 Delaware Division of Public Health mandate.
“We’re actually one of the last to do it,” said Barbara Cairns, a city water department employee. “We were waiting for the new well to come online so we could start.”
Kevin Cottman, a health specialist with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said the state requirement was enacted to improve dental health in the state.
But there is a growing movement of specialists across the nation who don’t believe that’s the case.
Paul Connett, a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology from St. Lawrence University in New York, said fluoride accumulates on bones and can cause serious health risks over time.
“What hurts you is the dose,” said Connett, who is working to change fluoride-level standards in public drinking water through his organization, The Fluoride Action Network. “The more you drink, the higher dose you will get.”
Cottman said Delaware’s standard, about 1 milligram per liter, is maintained through daily sampling and inspection, and has been set by recommendations from the U.S. Public Health Service for dental disease prevention.
“You’re dealing with a range that we monitor closely,” he said. “There should be no pitfalls.”
Resident Marcia Maldeis said she’s not concerned about the addition of fluoride to her water, as she believes the chemical to be a positive.
“I’ll drink the water,” she said. “I always thought we had it here anyway. I moved here from Washington D.C. and all our water there is fluoridated. It’s healthy for you.”