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Letter: Fluoridation Has Sound Science Behind It

To the Editor:

Bravo to the Valley News for its wise and commonsensical editorial on Dec. 2, “Bradford Regresses.” As a pediatrician, I see children every week from Bradford who will be hurt by the removal of fluoride from the water. We have an oral health crisis here, and both kids and seniors are counting on us to heed science and prevent problems before they occur.

Fluoride is neither “poison” nor a “medication.” It is a mineral that is found naturally in most public water supplies. It is part of the Earth’s crust, and is present in the Atlantic Ocean at higher concentrations than fluoridated drinking water supplies. “Fluoridation” is the process by which fluoride levels are adjusted (down or up) to the optimal level for preventing tooth decay and contributing to healthy bones.

There are several examples of how products we consume daily are fortified or adjusted to enhance the health of Americans, just like fluoridated water. Iodine is added to salt, folic acid is added to breads and cereals, and Vitamin D is added to milk. Nobody considers Vitamin D poison, do they?

In fact, U.S. court decisions have rejected the argument that fluoride is a “medication” that should not be allowed in water. The American Journal of Public Health summarized one of these rulings, noting that “fluoride is not a medication, but rather a nutrient found naturally in some areas but deficient in others.” Not only is fluoridation safe, it is one of the most cost-effective health prevention strategies ever devised. A community that stops fluoridating or never even begins the process of fluoridation spends more money on decay-related dental problems. Evidence shows that every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in unnecessary treatment costs.

At a time when more than 100 million Americans lack dental insurance, many of them right here in our own community, fluoridation offers an easy, inexpensive preventive strategy that everyone benefits from simply by turning on their tap.

I urge the Bradford water commissioners to heed sound science and proven public health successes and put the fluoride back into Bradford’s water supply.

Steven H. Chapman

Hanover

Related

Editorial: Bradford Regresses

Thursday, October 3, 2013

While the rest of the world is fretting about electromagnetic waves, genetically modified food and other perceived health threats associated with contemporary living, the town of Bradford, Vt., has taken a step back in time by rekindling a public health debate that we thought had been settled long ago — whether fluoride should be added to the municipal water supply …

Bradford, Vt., Commission Reaffirms Decision to End Water Fluoridation

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bradford — Water and Sewer Commission members have voted to reaffirm their May decision to remove fluoride from the town’s water supply. Commissioners initially voted in May to end fluoridation, a decision that flew under the radar for months before sparking a backlash from dentists and residents. On Tuesday, the commission took another vote, and the results were the same. …

Fluoride Debated in Bradford After Commission Ends Water Treatment 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bradford — Opponents and supporters of fluoridating the town’s water supply came out in force last night as commission members defended and explained their recent decision to no longer fluoridate the water. Supporters of the decision by the Bradford Water and Sewer Commission cited concerns over negative health effects and involuntary ingestion of a chemical added to the water supply. …

Editorial: Civic Health in Bradford; Fluoride Vote Lacked Transparency

Thursday, December 20, 2012

There must be something in the water in Bradford, Vt., and we don’t mean fluoride. We refer to the fact that the town’s Water and Sewer Commission appears to be under the influence of something that has impaired its judgment and led it to ignore a central proposition of democratic government — that the public’s business must be transacted in …