Like most people, I never gave fluoridation a thought until the recent debates. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I did some research. I am now opposed to fluoridation for many reasons.
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When you put fluoride in the water supply, more than 99 percent of it goes into the environment. Has anyone considered what fluoridation might do, and perhaps already has done, to the Mendenhall Wetlands? To our local fisheries? Fluoridation puts 30,000 pounds of fluoride into Juneau's environment each year, fluoride which would otherwise be disposed of according to strict regulations as hazardous waste. Even empty bags of fluoride must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Is it worth jeopardizing such a valuable resource, when there are more direct ways to put fluoride on our teeth?
When you put fluoride in the water supply, you're putting it into all your internal organs and bones - not just your teeth. If fluoride is strong enough to affect tooth enamel, it must affect the rest of your body, and there is no medical reason (nor medical evidence) to assume that those effects will be only positive. Is fluoride good for your kidneys? For your heart? For your spine? If there's any question, the only ethical response is to keep it out of the water supply.
When you put fluoride in the water supply, you give an unmonitored, arbitrary dosage (after all, it depends on how much water you drink) to infants, 3-year-olds, 30-year-olds, pregnant women, and the elderly. You give an unmonitored dosage to everyone regardless of their individual health issues. Would you do that with any other medication? Of course not. The medical profession would not allow it.
I don't question that fluoride is effective when applied topically, and I support better ways to prevent cavities, especially for poor children. For starters, let's use that $70,000 for fluoride (and the estimated $700,000 that the city needs to construct a new hazardous waste facility for fluoride storage), to hire a dental expert for the schools who will medically, topically and effectively provide fluoride to those who need it.
There are too many risks, both for personal health and the environment, to put fluoride in the water supply. We should distribute fluoride with methods where we can control the dosage and keep it only on our teeth.
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