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GUEST OPINION: Some arguments against fluoridating Sonoma County's water

I am concerned by the Board of Supervisors' strong push to fluoridate Sonoma County's water supply. While the conspiracy theories about fluoride are largely to be disregarded, they act as distractions from what are some very serious questions about mass fluoridation.

The evidence that fluoride ingested into the body has a positive effect on tooth health has come under great scrutiny in the past decade and has been somewhat debunked. Topical fluoride, as used in toothpaste and clinical fluoride treatments, does help to prevent cavities, but its ingestion holds less merit. The report “Current and future role of fluoride in nutrition,” published in Dental Clinics of North America by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Dentistrystates, “Current evidence strongly suggests that fluorides work primarily by topical means through direct action on the teeth and dental plaque. Thus, ingestion of fluoride is not essential for caries (cavity) prevention.”

More than 90 percent of European countries no longer add fluoride into their water. In the Netherlands, for instance, that nation's supreme court ruled that providing clean water is the water authority's role, not medication in any form.

Even if fluoride is effective, it is impossible, through the water supply, to ensure that people are receiving either too little or too much of it, or of any medication. A bicycle rider, for instance, may drink more than a gallon of water a day and will ingest much more medication than is intended, while many of the children it is intended for may drink primarily sodas and sugary drinks not made with the county water supply. And no health professional in their right mind would ever give a prescription to a patient and then tell them to have as much or as little as they wanted.

Fluoride is notoriously difficult to remove from water and cannot be removed through simple and affordable Brita-type water filters. It also stays in water through treatment and goes into the environment, into our rivers and into our creeks and watersheds.

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