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Flushing fluoride: Another kind of decay

| Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, 8:57 p.m.

Leave it to the divided and contentious Ford City Council to unite and solve a problem that most of the nation doesn't recognize as a problem. All five council members at a recent meeting voted to stop fluoridation of the borough's water supply when a new water plant starts operations in about a year.

It's an understatement to say most of the nation doesn't see fluoridation as a problem. Nearly every large city adds fluoride to its water systems. The World Health Organization and American Dental Association support the practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control — citing dramatic decreases in tooth decay in children and adults since fluoridation of public water systems started more than 60 years ago — called the practice one of the “top medical achievements of the 20th century.”

There have been opponents of fluoridation since it was instituted in the 1940s. The dissenters have gotten more sophisticated in their claims against fluoride, but they have yet to disprove the fact that it is a safe and effective way to fight tooth decay.

Ford City has put itself on the short list of non-believers – right next to Portland, Ore., one of the larger cities to have rejected fluoridation. That city, by the way, rallies around this slogan: “Keep Portland Weird.” That should say it all.

The bickering members of the Ford City Council finally have found an issue they can agree upon. Unfortunately, stopping a practice that has been benefiting residents for decades is the wrong issue.

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