CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The State College Borough Water Authority (SCBWA) is considering joining its Centre County neighbors in stopping water fluoridation.
An SCBWA fluoride subcommittee presented a 2:1 recommendation to stop adding the mineral, based on a series of scientific evidence both for and against consuming the mineral.
“Fluoride’s a pretty hot topic and it has been for a while,” said Natalie Lang, a dental hygienist with Advanced Dentistry of Centre County.
The topic dates back to the 1930s when a study found children who drank water with a naturally high level of fluoride had less tooth decay as it helps strengthen adult teeth forming under the gums. For adults, fluoride helps keep teeth healthy and strong.
“Generally you’re 30% more likely to need dental surgery if you’re not having regular fluoride applications as well as systemic fluoride through the water,” said Lang.
In 1945, communities nationwide began adding fluoride to their water. State College joined the list in 1954; however, not all residents are filling their cups.
“We have a water filter that we use to remove the fluoride from our water,” said State College Resident Jennifer Moeny. “That was something that I did for health reasons.”
Moeny said having fluoride in water removes an individual’s medical consent.
“There are other sources of fluoride now that may not have been as readily available when those decisions were made initially,” Moeny said. “Those have to come into play.”
The fluoride subcommittee said SCBWA’s mission is “to provide safe water, not medicate the public,” according to their presentation.
The presentation highlights the proven dental benefits, but also studies that say consuming fluoride can weaken bones, discolor teeth, and lead to a lower IQ in children if consumed during pregnancy.
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They note about 99% of added fluoride is wasted and released into the environment, posing a danger to aquatic and plant life.
“The board will hear those comments and of course take them into consideration,” SCBWA Executive Director Brian Heiser said. “I’m not sure if any action will be taken, or if they will continue the conversation at the following month’s board meeting.”