Vote yes on fluoride

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

As a boy growing up in Wrangell in the late 1950s, I feared going to the dentist because of the inevitable need to fill a tooth cavity. This was always preceded by the painful shot of Novocain in the mouth which on a couple of occasions didn't work. I am glad my children and most of their mates didn't have to go through those experiences. Much of the credit for this is water fluoridation that Juneau provided until recently.

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On Oct. 2, I urge you to vote yes on Ballot Measure 2 to put fluoride back into our water as it has been for 30 years. It is safe, effective, and works. It will help all children and also those of us who grow older in preventing dental caries and help maintain oral health. For the elderly, with gums naturally receding and decreased saliva, the risk for caries increases and fluoridated water helps to counter them.

The Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, the last four Surgeon Generals, American Dental Association, American Medical Association, Alaska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others support the use of public water fluoridation. Properly used, it is safe and there are no clear links at the recommended levels to thyroid disease, bone disease, cancer, skin disorders, or bone fractures. Like chlorine in water and iodine in table salt, it is a safe and beneficial tool for the health of the public.

The report of the National Research Council to the EPA was on only high levels of fluoride in drinking water and "do not address the lower exposures commonly experienced by most U.S. citizens." In addition, the report "did not include an examination of the benefits and risks that might occur at these lower concentrations of fluoride in drinking water." Therefore, it is misleading and inaccurate to apply this report to this important issue of public health.

Please join many Juneau physicians, nurses, pediatricians, and dentists and vote yes on Ballot Measure 2.

Bob Urata, doctor


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