Town Gets Fluoridation Award Amid Rising Health Concerns
By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
February 20, 2013
Cape Charles has again received an annual Water Fluoridation Quality Award for maintaining safe levels of fluoride in the drinking water.
Daily tests ensure that fluoride added to Town water is maintained between .6 to 1.2 parts per million.
Virginia Department of Health representative Dixon Tucker presented the award to Public Utilities Director Dave Fauber at the January 10 Town Council meeting.
The Department of Health encourages communities to fluoridate their water supplies to prevent tooth decay.
According to the Health Department, fluoridated water reaches 80 percent of the state’s residents.
Fluoride concentrations are generally low in wells on the Eastern Shore. But in some other areas, naturally occurring fluoride levels are so high that the water is not considered safe for children to drink. In those areas, bottled water is recommended for children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents monitor the use of fluoride toothpaste by young children.
Consuming excessive fluoride either in the water or as toothpaste can cause dental fluorosis in children younger than nine years old. Effects can vary from barely perceptible off-white to light brown marks, pitting, enamel loss, and brown staining on permanent teeth.
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Fluorosis cannot be seen until the permanent teeth appear, at which point the damage has already occurred.
Because of the potential for swallowing fluoride toothpaste, the Food & Drug Administration requires all fluoride toothpastes to state: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed lowering the recommended fluoride level in public water supplies to 0.7 parts per million due to increasing dental fluorosis in children and young adults.
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to conduct further assessments of the benefits and risks associated with adding fluoride to drinking water. More information is at http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/fluoride.cfm
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN), an international coalition to end water fluoridation and alert people to fluoride’s environmental and health risks, opposes the use of fluoride in communities’ water supplies.
FAN argues that administering fluoride through the water supply denies individuals the right of informed consent when taking a substance that is a drug, not a nutrient. When fluoride is added to the water supply, there is no way to control the dose for each individual.
According to FAN, 97 percent of European countries have rejected water fluoridation, with England being an exception.
A list of communities that have rejected water fluoridation appears at http://www.fluoridealert.org/content/communities/
According to studies quoted by FAN, fluoride can damage a child’s developing brain. Parents are advised not to use fluoridated water for making baby formula. FAN notes that mothers’ milk contains almost no fluoride.
Adverse effects from too much fluoride for adults include increased risk of bone fractures, thyroid problems, some cancers, and aggravation of various illnesses.
Fluoride can be particularly harmful for people with kidney disease, who tend to store fluoride rather than excrete it quickly.