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Fluoride may be best weapon for some

My Opinion
Alan Stewart, Staff Writer

Seat belts aren’t perfect. Not every person who wears one escapes injury. But, people wear them because, more often than not, they work.
Vitamins aren’t perfect. Not every person who takes them is a picture of health. But, people take them because, more often than not, they work.
Exercise isn’t perfect. Not every person who exercises is completely healthy. But, people do it because, more often than not, it works.
Fluoride isn’t perfect. Not every person who drinks water containing fluoride will escape having cavities or will have healthy teeth. And, when consumed in extremely high quantities, fluoride can be unhealthy. But, water companies add it to their systems because, more often than not, it works.
The decision isn’t final, but it’s a possibility that the Town of Elizabeth will no longer be adding fluoride to its water supply. So far, town manager Hugh Burns has been tight-lipped as to what led him and the town council to lean toward discontinuing the practice.
‘He has told me that he and the persons on the water board have decided to stop adding fluoride to the water supply … saying it would take an act of Congress to stop him … , ‘ Danny Schroeder, senior environmentalist health specialist at the Harrison County Health Dept., said. ‘I’m very concerned that this misguided move will set that part of the county back 50 to 60 years in regards to safeguarding tooth decay in children and adults.’
As the comment section to last week’s story about the matter showed, there is a vocal group against the addition of fluoride to public water. However, since our comment section is anonymous, there’s no way to know for certain how many people are in this group.
There are claims that fluoride causes cancer, Alzheimer’s and a list of other ailments. If two Internet posts to last week’s story are to be believed, it also allows for mind control and is part of a sinister plot by the aluminum industry to poison Americans.
It’s the same sort of rhetoric that those who oppose vaccinations for their children spout as they point out the health dangers of getting shots.
To those who believe the above: Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Elvis is dead and two planes ‘ not U.S. government missiles ‘ hijacked by terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Fluoride in drinking water aids, though not completely defeats, the fight against tooth decay, and for some people may be the only protection they get. A poor community isn’t likely to get the best of the best when it comes to dentistry or to focus on a fruit-and-vegetable enriched diet, so their water may be their best weapon because it’s their only weapon.
Adding fluoride to water is akin to adding Vitamin D to milk, folic acid to bread or iodine to table salt. It just makes sense. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the addition of fluoride to drinking water one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. In a century that arguably had some of the biggest medical advancements ever, that’s quite a feat.
In excess, fluoride can discolor teeth and can make one ill.
In excess, fried food can make one fat, too.
There’s no good argument against the use of fluoride in water, Mr. Burns. The good people of Elizabeth ‘ the ones you represent ‘ don’t deserve to be second-class citizens.

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