Fluoride has long been regarded as one of the best ways to fight cavities.
More than 60 years ago, suppliers started adding it to public water to protect children’s teeth as they matured.
Over the years, fluoride started to pop up in more and more products – toothpaste, dental rinses, mouthwashes – and cities, towns and municipalities started to remove it from their water.
The American Dental Association reported in 2018 that 74 cities voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water since 2013. More than a dozen cities voted on the change in 2019.
Shiloh Water Authority, which serves West Manchester Township in York County, has started the process to remove fluoride from its water.
Shiloh is one of the last water companies in York County to add fluoride. According to a database by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the others are Hanover Municipal Water Works, Red Lion Municipal Authority and the West Manheim branch of the York Water Company (this was purchased by York Water in 2008 under an agreement to continue to fluoridate the water).
Adams County is one of 19 counties in Pennsylvania that does not have a supplier that adds fluoride or purchases fluoridated water. Franklin has three authorities and Lebanon has two that add fluoride to their community’s water.
Chairman James Bentzel said Shiloh started to add fluoride to the water in the mid-1960s. In the last few years some of its customers requested that the company stop.
“There are a lot of products out there where they can get fluoride,” Bentzel said Thursday. “Some customers are concerned that they are getting too much fluoride.”
And Bentzel said fluoride isn’t easy to get rid of once it’s added to the water. Unlike chlorine, which dissipates from the water, you need a special purifying system to get rid of the fluoride.
The authority officially advertised its intent to remove fluoride from its water supply on Dec. 21, 2019, giving residents until Jan. 21, 2020 to voice comments to the DEP. Those comments will be used by the state agency in the final consideration of the application.
Bentzel said if the DEP approves the application, the fluoride could be stopped in as little as 30 days.
“We have to send letters to notify our customers of the cutoff date,” Bentzel said. “It’s a simple process on our end.”
In an opinion piece to the York Daily Record, officials of Healthy York County Coalition are urging West Manchester Township residents to contact DEP and voice their opposition to Shiloh’s change.
“Removing fluoride is a step backwards, a decision that will negatively affect the long-term dental and physical health of children and adults served by Shiloh Water System,” Chair Jenny Englerth and Coordinator Deborah Gogniat write.
*Original article online at https://www.ydr.com/story/news/watchdog/2020/01/10/shiloh-water-central-pa-drop-fluoride-water/4424641002/