Letter: The Case Against Fluoridation
To the Editor:
The editorial of Dec. 2 (“Bradford Regresses”) suggests that Bradford water commissioners took a step backward in deciding not to continue fluoridation of the town water supply. The Centers for Disease Control is cited, recognizing “water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” Bradford, however, has taken a step forward into the 21st century. Fluoride has long been established as an essential ingredient in toothpaste and other mouth-care products. Vermont, where a large proportion of the population use water from their own wells, provides regular fluoride treatment to schoolchildren. And health risks from systemic ingestion of fluoride are increasingly acknowledged, for example, by the American Academy of Family Physicians. That’s why we are warned against swallowing toothpaste and fluoride rinses. Last year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency drastically lowered their recommended levels for water fluoridation. Most European countries do not fluoridate their water.
The American Academy of Family Physicians also notes that dental health in communities that don’t fluoridate their water has improved over the past decades as much as in those that do. Adding fluoride to the water is a crude approach to dental health compared to improved dental care.
Finally, the editorial attitude that the concerned minority “can opt out by buying bottled water” is arrogant and backward. The burden should be to “opt in” to systemic fluoride dosing. In fact, fluoridated salt is fairly popular in Europe, just as iodized salt is common here.