WALDEN — Village officials are taking a second look at a decision to eliminate fluoride from Walden’s drinking water after an outcry from local dentists.
Last month, the village board voted to stop flouridating the water upon a request from water department employees. Mayor Brian Maher said the staff had concerns about the safety of handling the chemical as well as its corrosive effects on the water plant.
But Tuesday, several dentists spoke at a board meeting to implore the village to think again.
“As a dentist in practice for 25 years, I see the benefits of fluoride,” said Dr. Peter Masci, who has a practice on East Main Street.
Dr. Robert Kimball, who Masci said pushed in 1953 for flouridation in Walden, also attended the meeting along with several other professionals.
The American Dental Association and the state health department both support boosting naturally-occurring fluoride levels in water as a public health measure.
“When fluoride is added to community drinking water, it provides an effective, inexpensive and safe way of reducing dental decay,” said Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Health.
Although there are negative impacts from excessive fluoride consumption, the appropriate amount in drinking water is beneficial to people of all ages, according to the state health department.
Maher said he’s pouring over pages of literature to make a recommendation to the board on how to protect worker safety and community health.
“It’s not a simple issue,” Maher said.