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Michigan's Hartland Township ends its water fluoridation program

Dec 21, 2011

Hartland Township in Livingston County has voted to immediately stop adding fluoride to its water system.  The decision came after a long debate over rumored health risks and government control of water additives.

Trustee Glenn Harper brought the issue to the board. He called it a health hazard and says people should decide individually whether to use it.

Trustee Joe Colaianne voted against stopping fluoridation. The final vote was 5-2.

Hartland Township’s water system serves fewer than 400 private customers. But one of those customers is the school system, which has more than 3,100 students.

"They'll be in a situation where their dentist will prescribe fluoride supplements, which of course is additional costs to the patients," says Tom Kochheiser of the Michigan Dental Association.

Kochheiser says studies show communities without fluoridated water show a 20 to 40 percent increase in tooth decay.

He also says rumors about health problems caused by fluoride -- such as kidney problems -- are based on what he calls “junk science” and have been refuted by the Centers for Disease Control.

The federal government says fluoridation is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. But earlier this year, the government said a new review shows some Americans may be getting too much fluoride.

Kochheiser says most communities are limiting fluoride at .7 parts per million, down from a previous recommendation of 1.2 parts per million.