The issue of adding fluoride to the local water supply is once again before a local water district.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the Manchester Water District Board of Commissioners heard public comments for both the anti- and pro- fluoridation camps. No action was taken, but the record will be open for further comment on the issue through September 10.
Former Manchester resident Tyler Giantvalley Eaton began his 10-minute presentation with anecdotal evidence on the effects of fluoridated water, citing that since moving to Bellingham where the water is not fluoridated, when he comes home to visit his mother he feels ill, something he attributes to fluoride sensitivity.
“When I come back to eat my mother’s food, and she’s a great cook I should add, I feel sick,” he said. “I began getting interested and found there is a mountain of facts and propaganda to wade through.”
Eaton, who was flanked by his mother and sister who both live in Manchester, cited numerous arguments against fluoridating water supplies including that elemental fluoride is reactive, the dosage is hard to control and since it can be very hard and costly to remove fluoride from water, the public cannot willingly opt out and therefore adding fluoride violates the medical code of ethics.
Adding fluoride to the water first went to the voters in Manchester in 1969 and was approved. Fluoride began being added to the water supply in June of 1971, said Water District General Manager Dennis O’Connell.
The Manchester Water District’s water supply contains .02 parts per million of naturally occurring fluoride. The element is known to have strengthening properties that can help prevent cavities, although if too much is ingested it can be poisonous.
Sodium fluoride is added to increase the level to 1.0 ppm, the current recommended level by the Washington State Department of Health. Currently, about 65 percent of Washington State’s water systems are fluoridated.
As mandated by state law the water supply must be tested each day and the fluoride levels recorded.
Local dentist Richard Freiboth spoke in support of continued water fluoridation. He cited that the practice is endorsed by the American Dental Association and Centers for Disease Control and likened it to fortifying other foods such as milk with vitamin D, orange juice with vitamin c and salt with iodine.
“When I cut a persons tooth I can feel the difference when they’ve been drinking fluoridated water,” he said.
Previous attempts have been made to disrupt fluoridation, in June of 1992 and March of 1994. In April of 1994, a survey was distributed to ratepayers and the response came back 6 to 1 in favor of continuing fluoridation. A few months ago, O’Connell said, the board had a person express a desire to stop fluoridation.
“The end game is that the board wants to do what the rate payers want,” he said. Currently the Manchester Water District has a little more than 3,300 ratepayers and serves a population of about 10,000 people.
Chair Steve Pedersen asked for the Board to keep the record open for 60 days.
“Obviously there is a lot of information on both sides,” he said. “I want a written reason on why we should overturn the voters.”
Written information may be sent to Dennis O’Connell at the Manchester Water District, 2081 Spring Ave. E, Port Orchard, WA 98366; (360) 871-0500.
This item was submitted by Kitsap Sun reporter Brittany Patterson and filed by blog administrator Chris Henry.