Fluoride Action Network

West Manheim Township: Top 10 local stories of the year

Source: The Evening Sun | December 20th, 2012

A fatal deer disease brought big changes to local hunting, and the trial over a slain game warden determined the fate of a Carroll Valley man.

Penn State faced a year of tumult, while those in Hanover organized an effort to revitalize downtown.

The question of whether fluoride should be added to drinking water divided a community, and a stir over —of all things — bobbleheads led the National Park Service to clear shelves at its gift shop.

These and other events made 2012 a memorable one in the Hanover-Adams County area…

10 There’s something in the water in West Manheim Township.

It’s fluoride. And the fight over whether the township’s water should continue to be fluoridated, or whether fluoride should be removed, spanned several months in 2012.

The practice of adding fluoride to the public drinking water supplied in the township dates back more than 50 years. And when York Water Co. bought the township’s system in 2007, the company agreed to continue the practice, even though it does not add fluoride to any other water it supplies.

The company this year gave notice to the township that it planned to reduce fluoride levels from 1 ml/L to 0.7 ml/L, in accordance with a federal Environmental Protection Agency recommendation. And at an April meeting, the township supervisors voted 4-1 to discontinue altogether the practice of fluoridating water.

That touched off a wave of biting criticism by residents, most of whom said the removal of fluoride would be detrimental to the township’s dental health, and that the supervisors were too hasty in bringing the issue to a vote.

In June — about three months after the vote to discontinue fluoridation — the supervisors reversed course and voted 4-1 to ask York Water Co. to ignore the previous request.

And that decision tipped off more criticism, this time from a group of residents that, citing studies, said ingesting fluoride can be harmful.

In any case, a third vote was never taken, and the water coming to the township continues to be fluoridated.