To add or not to add that’s the question in one East Tennessee community, as the debate concerning whether or not fluoride should be in the water continues.
The South Blount County Utility District used to buy its water from other districts which added fluoride.
But it decided to leave fluoride out when it started its own treatment plant in July.
As Volunteer TV’s Chloe Morroni reports the debate is now online.
You can’t see it and you probably can’t taste it, but most of you have fluoride in your water.
That’s not the case for 13,000 people in the South Blount County Utility District.
“It does leave freedom of choice out there. If we do not put it in the water, we still leave that choice,” says Isom Lail, with the SBCUD.
District Manager Isom Lail says after a lot of research the utility decided against fluoridation because some reports indicate long term exposure can cause health problems.
“Osteoporosis, it adds to brittle bones. It’s filtered through the kidneys. There’s some questions does it do damage to kidneys. Problems with attention deficit in children,” Lail says.
Utility customer Mike Biddle agrees, “The medicating of water I don’t believe should have happened to begin with.”
Biddle started a website validating the utility’s decision. He has an online petition drive to keep fluoride out of the water.
“I wanted to make it easy for people to make a decision,” says Biddle.
But T. Rex Ogle, Jr. thinks fluoride should be added, “From conception to 14, when you drink fluoride it forms strong teeth in small children. There are reports out there that talk about that.”
He too has a website and folks are signing his petition to add fluoride.
“All I want to do is have the people decide do we want it or not. If people don’t want it, then so be it, but the customers need to make the decision,” says Ogle.
And the utility is listening.
“We’re trying to come up with a way to educate people, get opinions, and maybe even poll people,” Lail says.
To add or not to add, the debate is far from over.
South Blount County Utility District officials say fluoride only costs a penny per thousand gallons and it’s usually only added at one part per million.