Pasco County Drinking Water Well water shut down

A Pennsylvania Water Authority Wades Into An Old Conspiracy-Theory Debate: Fluoridated Water

Apparently, in a move that not so long would have been dubbed the product of a conspiracy theory, a community water authority with jurisdiction over one of America’s biggest universities has voted to stop fluoridating its water.

Apparently, in a move that not so long would have been dubbed the product of a conspiracy theory, a community water authority with jurisdiction over one of America’s biggest universities has voted to stop fluoridating its water.

The State College Borough Water Authority, which oversees water service to Penn State, voted unanimously recently to stop the practice of adding fluoride to its water – a local practice since 1954.

According to StateCollege.com, the vote to end fluoridation came after the board released a report in May. That report was based on a review of the scientific literature, the practices in other countries, the potential adverse effects, especially to infants, and a cost-benefit analysis of maintaining the local water supply. 

Ultimately, the report noted, “There is no obvious advantage of water fluoridation compared with topical prevention for the prevention of dental caries. Pregnant women and babies should not drink fluoridated water [because of] potential IQ loss [and] dental fluorosis. The general population has no way of removing fluoride from their water if they don’t want it. The addition of fluoride to drinking water increases cost and introduces risk.”

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The board voted 6-0 to implement the recommendation to end fluoridation. One board member who supported continuing the practice was so outraged that he resigned from the board in the middle of the debate, StateCollege.com reported. That board member,  Bernard Hoffnar, said he quit because he did not want to do something that he felt would hurt the health of the community.

The board’s vote overruled the opinions of many local dentists who argued for keeping the additive in the water to prevent tooth decay. The dentists pointed out fluoride has been flowing into water supplies nationally for more than 70 years with no ill effects.

Yet some board members who voted for the recommendation said the authority was adding fluoride without giving customers an option. They did not want to “medicate” their clientele.

Decades ago, critics of fluoridation claimed that the Nazis and the Soviets added fluoride to their respective water supplies to make their populations both dumber and easier to control. 

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The issue emerged in Pinellas County about a decade ago. The County Commission voted to stop adding the anti-cavity product to serving its 700,000 residents.

Yet two Republicans on the board were ousted in the 2012 election by Democrats who backed fluoridation, and the following year, fluoride was back in the water supply. 

In their report, the Pennsylvania board noted that between 2013 and 2018, 74 U.S. cities ended fluoridation of their water.   

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