STAUNTON — A local resident called on city officials Thursday to halt fluoridation of the city’s drinking water.
Resident Ken Case, speaking during the City Council meeting, disagreed with state officials and the American Dental Association that small amounts of fluorine in drinking water is beneficial and argued that the city, at least temporary, stop the practice. Council did not take action on his proposal.
“Fluorine works topically and shouldn’t be swallowed,” Case said, while waving a stack of papers from advocates who support his cause. “My whole body should not be salted by swallowing the water.”
Case, who is an oral cancer survivor, said fluorine can aggravate his condition and cause health risks for the population and livestock in the area. He said horses, in particular, can be aversely affected by it.
Although some advocates, including many that Case cited during the meeting, worry about the risk that fluorine presents in drinking water, most doctors and health officials disagree. They say fluorine in drinking water can prevent tooth decay in the right dosages. About 6 million Virginians drink water that has been set at the recommended level of fluorine, according to the state Department of Health.
“Fluoridation is viewed as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health,” according to a statement on the health department’s Web site. “Recent national studies indicate that water fluoridation will reduce dental decay in permanent teeth by approximately 17 to 40 percent.”
Case said he was not surprised that council did not approve his proposal, but said he would continue to petition local advocacy groups to establish a forum to debate the issue.
“I don’t want them to stop the practice just because I say so, but I want them to bring experts here and have a debate over it,” he said.