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Flouridation of Longmeadow water

The April 25 Longmeadow Town meeting will vote again on the petitions for the referendum on fluoridation of Longmeadow water. Since the only referendum on the fluoridation of Longmeadow water was over twenty years ago, a very significant percentage of the current Longmeadow voters never had an opportunity to vote on this issue. Also, fluoridation of municipal water in the US was initiated without any chronic safety data. We now know considerably more about the uncertain dental benefit and the negative medical side effects of systemic administration of fluoridated water that is imposed on the residents of Longmeadow residents without advised consent and medical supervision. Since the Massachusetts legislature does not mandate fluoridation of municipal water, Longmeadow is not obligated to continue the fluoridation indefinitely.

At present, essentially all countries in Europe have terminated fluoridation of municipal water and retrospective epidemiological studies do not indicate that termination of fluoridation has a negative effect on the dental health. Furthermore, on March 22 a prestigious committee of the National Research Council ( NRC ) released a 500 page report on the potential toxic effects of fluoridated water. Several potential health problems are cited in the report and although fluoride concentrations of most municipal waters are below the current EPA upper limit, there is evidence that many Americans are being over-dosed with harmful levels of fluoride. The NRC report also suggests a possible link between chronic exposure to fluoride and negative side effects on the nervous and endocrine systems, including brain, thyroid and pineal gland. Consequently, the report calls on government agencies to introduce nationwide monitoring of fluoride levels in people's urine and blood and recommends research on the relationship between fluoride and diseases such as arthritis, dementia, osteosarcoma, and hypothyroidism. Additional information on the NRC report is listed by site.

The above considerations suggest that even if our teeth were the most important organs in our bodies and ingestion of fluoridated water prevented dental cavities as effectively as brushing of the teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, and even if the cost of fluoridation was negligible and the Longmeadow budget had excess funds, we still should question the wisdom of water fluoridation. Because eventually the truth prevails, I am sure that one day Longmeadow will terminate water fluoridation. However, since there is evidence already that the potential negative side effects of fluoridation are greater than the positive, why wait for the day when our children and grandchildren will ask us why we were against the referendum and why we did not study this issue more diligently.

Of course, individuals and organizations that aggressively promote fluoridation and ignore all indications of potential medical problems will have to answer more difficult questions.

George J. Krol, Ph.D.