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Sep 12, 2011

Water Fluoridation to End in Spring Hill, Tennessee

City officials in Tennessee have officially agreed to stop fluoridation of Spring Hill’s public water supply beginning November 1, 2011.  The idea was first set into motion after individuals like Spring Hill’s water superintendent Caryl Giles began questioning the necessity for water fluoridation.  Concerns have been raised since public water fluoridation forces ingestion of the substance by all who drink city water.  I think we have to be responsible as parents and look at other options for fluoridation, but not put it in the water where it’s not needed,” said Alderman Keith Hudson.  Many people agree that water fluoridation is not only expensive, costing tax payers in Spring Hill more than $21,000 each year, but also an outdated practice not well supported by good science.           

Back in January of this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new recommendations for community water fluoridation that would replace the 1962 U.S. Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards.  The previous recommendation for optimal fluoride concentration was a range from 0.7-1.2 mg/L, but the HHS has suggested that community fluoridation be adjusted to the optimum level of 0.7 mg/L in order to provide [the  alleged] protection against tooth decay while simultaneously lowering risks for excess exposure to fluoride and dental fluorosis.  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Exposure to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to increased likelihood of bone fractures in adults, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness. Children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel, along with a range of cosmetic effects to teeth.”  Considering how community water fluoridation may cause these types of side effects in some people along with the fact that fluoride is so easily accessible these days through products like toothpastes, mouth rinses, and certain topical applications by dentists, it makes good sense to thoroughly re-evaluate current standards for fluoride concentration in community water supplies.  As more communities like Spring Hill move forward to question the practice of water fluoridation, other communities will likely continue to follow suit.     

Dr. Shana McQueen