By Meg Thunell
Teeth were gritted and bared during Lindon’s City Council meeting Tuesday as citizens came together to discuss the pros and cons of fluoridating water.
What was supposed to be a 15-minute presentation by Clinton Miller, chairman of the National Committee Against Fluoridation, turned into a lengthy debate by citizens.
“If the people want fluoride, they can take a fluoride pill,” said Dr. Gary Smith of Pleasant Grove. “But I don’t think they can put fluoride in my water and force me to drink a poisonous substance.”
Most of the people present were very vocal in their opposition to fluoridation.
“We feel it is an inappropriate use of a public water system to deliver medicine,” said Raye Howard of Highland, president of the grass roots lobbying organization Health Forum.
The debate over water fluoridation has been constant in Utah County since March 2000, when the Utah State Legislature passed a bill allowing county commissioners in Utah, Weber and Davis counties to put the fluoridation issue to the voters for a decision.
Opponents of water fluoridation are worried about dangers involved in fluoridation, because it is very difficult to regulate the dosage of fluoride once it is put in the water. If water is fluoridated, opponents fear children and the elderly may ingest too much fluoride, causing fluorosis and other complications.
Opponents are also concerned with studies that link fluoridation to cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.
According to the American Dental Association, generally accepted scientific knowledge agrees that these claims are invalid.
Like all chemicals, fluoride can be dangerous if it is consumed in large quantities. The ADA holds, however, that the amount of fluoride present in fluoridated water is not enough to cause problems.
The ADA also says studies show that in areas where water is fluoridated, such as the East Coast, dental decay is significantly decreased.
It is recommended, however, that infants avoid fluoride of any type, including fluoridated water.