TIMBERVILLE – The town’s water will continue to be treated with fluoride – at least, for now.
On Thursday night, Timberville Town Council decided to put off voting on whether to discontinue fluoridation, a process detractors say is detrimental to the community’s health instead of the benefit most public health officials claim.
The delay was to the chagrin of the mayor and a councilwoman, both of whom would have liked a vote on the issue.
To aid the decision-making process, the town had a forum on fluoridation Monday with two dentists offering opposing views.
“We have to make a decision at some point,” Mayor Don DeLaughter said on Thursday.
Councilwoman Ellen Nash made a motion to continue fluoridation, but it wasn’t voted on because no one seconded it.
The council then voted 4-1 to table the issue until next month’s meeting, giving two council members who missed the fluoride forum an opportunity to watch a video of the event.
Nash voted against it, saying all expert testimony and recommendations from state and federal agencies, as well as local dentists, support fluoridation.
At the start of the meeting, the town heard public comment on the issue. Six people spoke in favor of fluoridation, and two spoke against it.
Timberville resident Joan Hulvey has had medical problems due to an iodine deficiency, which she says was the result of too much halogen in her body. Fluoride is classified as a halogen.
Hulvey said fluoride is not only in the water. It gets concentrated in fruits and vegetables, she said, and it builds up in the animals that consume fluoridated water and the plants.
“It goes all the way up the food chain,” she said. “I would really be upset with anyone who makes a decision that could harm my grandchildren.”
‘Bound By Laws And Ethics’
But Allen Robbins, a Linville dentist who practices in Timberville, said fluoridation benefits the town.
Robbins said if there is too much fluoride in the water, it results in a discoloration of the teeth known as dental fluorosis.
But, he said, that isn’t something he sees in his patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association and the World Health Organization all support fluoridation, Robbins added.
“All these organizations are bound by laws and ethics,” he said.
“It’s been one of the most studied aspects of public health.”