A Sharpsville woman says the fluoride added to public water systems to help prevent tooth decay is a health threat and that people should have more flexibility in deciding whether and how they want to use fluoride.
Ashley Kamovitch asked members of Sharpsville council Tuesday to inform themselves about the risks she said she has discovered since she began researching the issue about two years ago.
Kamovitch said she will be carrying a similar message to the governments of other Shenango Valley communities. Aqua Pennsylvania has customers from Brookfield to Mercer.
The 2009 graduate of Sharpsville High School who works as a waitress said she stopped drinking fluoridated water after reading online about the potential toxicity of those compounds used in water.
Kamovitch said she has studied information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, federal Centers for Disease Control, and Harvard University, among others. She cited Fluoride Action Network as a source of information from doctors around the world who argue that fluoride is toxic and poses health risks to people who drink fluoridated water.
Kamovitch said her opposition to fluoride in water is a personal interest she discusses with friends and that she is not a member of an advocacy group.
Jim Willard, Aqua’s western area manager, said fluoridation at the Sharon plant is required by state regulation in Pennsylvania and by law in Ohio.
“The water industry is highly regulated as it should be,” he said. “We are in compliance across the board in all parameters of our drinking water.”
Willard said the concentration of hydrofluorosilicic acid used locally to fluoridate water meets EPA standards and is regularly tested.
Kamovitch said opponents of fluoridation aren’t convinced it can be done safely for everyone who drinks treated water.
“I understand they say it’s diluted but we all have different tolerances,” she said. “It might be OK for an adult but a danger for children.”
Fluoride can be topically applied if people want to use it, she said, or they can eat less sugar and processed food containing sweeteners as a way to combat tooth decay.
“I want people to know what’s in their water. They should be able to make their own decisions,” Kamovitch said. “They should have a say in deciding for themselves if they think it’s safe to drink.”
Borough Manager Ken Robertson said he’s satisfied on the matter of safety based on the monitoring and testing required by both state and federal regulators.
“Aqua sells us a safely regulated product and we sell a safely regulated product,” he said. “Aqua has to test what they sell us and we have to test what we buy from them, on a regular basis.”