Perspectives on fluoridated water in Upper Michigan
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Fluoride has been added to many American cities’ drinking water since the 1940s, but some in the natural health community call fluoridated water a public health disaster.
In Michigan, 90% of people served by community water systems have access to fluoridated water. The goal is to prevent tooth decay.
If you live in a city like Marquette, Munising or Escanaba, your drinking water is fluoridated. The CDC says community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all.
“It statistically shows, in communities where there is community water fluoride use, the level of decay in that community is less than the neighboring community that doesn’t fluoridate their water or doesn’t naturally have fluoridated water,” said Dr. Brian Anderson of 906 Family Dentistry.
Anderson notes the majority of medical studies show fluoride can also prevent cavities from forming - the main reason it is added to water systems.
“Where things are starting to become cavities it has the ability to go in and actually remineralize that area to restrengthen the tooth,” he said.
The current CDC-recommended level of fluoride concentration in water is 0.7 mg/l. Water operators closely monitor and adjust these levels on a daily basis.
There is a push to end community water fluoridation. Valerie Olson has been the director of the Wellness Centre of Marquette for 25 years.
“Our whole purpose here at the Wellness Centre is to educate the people and teach them, you know, ‘What do you need to do to keep your body healthy? What are you missing? What do you need to change?’” said Olson.
She believes communities should stop adding fluoride to drinking water.
“I think it’s important that we let our city officials know that we do not want a chemical added to the water that we now know, from the latest report released on March 15, is not safe, especially for our children and the unborn but really for anyone,” Olson said.
That report Olson cites was a draft released by the National Toxicology Program. That’s a federal research agency that reports on substances in the environment that may affect human health. The NTP is reviewing scientific research on fluoride exposure and neurodevelopmental and cognitive health effects in humans. The NTP report was made public only after a lawsuit against the EPA, filed by groups like the Flouride Action Network.
“What they concluded was, there was definitely a loss of IQ in many of the studies that they did,” said Olson. “There were increased risks for ADD and ADHD and other neurological disorders.”
After two peer reviews, however, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine said the NTP had not adequately supported its conclusions that fluoride should be classified as a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard for humans.
A reviewer commented: “When focusing on findings from studies with exposures in ranges typically found in drinking water in the united states (0.7 Mg/l for optimally fluoridated community water systems) that can be evaluated for dose response, effects on cognitive neurodevelopment are inconsistent, and therefore unclear.”
A decision about the official publication of the report will come from the director of the NTP. The next phase of the lawsuit is expected to happen in January.
Dr. Anderson disagrees with the claim that fluoridated water is dangerous. He does say excessive fluoride consumption can lead to fluorosis, which can cause dark spots on your teeth.
“If you are getting too much fluoride in your diet or you’re always swallowing your topically used toothpaste you can get too much fluoride in your system which is something we don’t want.”
The city of Marquette is one of 21 municipalities in Upper Michigan with a fluoridated water system. Marquette has been adding fluoride to water for more than 50 years. In a follow-up TV6 Investigates report Wednesday night, the Marquette City Manager explains the guidance the city follows.
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