A town employee who has been quietly reducing the amount of fluoride in the Vermont community’s drinking water for years has resigned – and asserts that the true levels have been much lower than believed.
Richmond water company director Kendall Chamberlin revealed in his five-page resignation letter, filed Monday, that fluoride levels have not been within the range of state recommendations for more than a decade. — rather than nearly four years, as the state recently revealed.
Chamberlin said in his letter – in language that sometimes echoes unfounded reports that have spread online in recent years – that he does not think the current fluoridation policy is legally required. logical or scientifically sound, and in his opinion pose “unacceptable risks to public health.”
“I cannot in good conscience be a party to this,” he wrote.
Chamberlin writes that he has never received a negative work review, has accurately measured fluoride levels in the water day by day, and has provided monthly written reports approved and signed by a manager. town management and submitted to two state agencies.
He argues that fluoridation is voluntary and the amount is not required.
While fluoridation of municipal water is voluntary, towns in Vermont “will control fluoride levels” within state regulations, according to state water supply rules.
The Vermont Health Department says it does not regulate the city’s water system. It’s in constant communication with Chamberlin about its fluoridation goal, and “Richmond’s monthly performance report will show signs of improvement, but levels will fall again,” says Robin Miller, director of oral health at the company. health ministry.
“We worked in good faith that all parties were working towards the same goal,” she said by email.
Months after discovering that the amount of fluoride added to water is only half of what is recommended by federal and state agencies, the town of Richmond said two weeks ago it would raise levels in the range for permission.
Town Manager Josh Arneson said Thursday that he will review fluoride levels monthly and that the town’s Water Supply and Sewerage Commission will also review the report.
Initial news that fluoride had been declining for nearly four years – a much shorter time than Chamberlin revealed in his resignation letter – shocked some residents and area doctors, who raised concerns. about misinformation, oral health, and government transparency, and say it’s not. a decision to be made by Chamberlin alone.
Resident Penni Rand said by email on Thursday that if her children were still young, she would be glad to know that the town’s water system doesn’t provide the amount of fluoride she trusts.
“It’s not okay!” she writes. “For me, the bigger problem is the way Kendall operates unilaterally. He doesn’t want to be told what to do.”
Dr Howard Novak, the only dentist in the small town, said Chamberlin was a man of good will who made “tactical errors” and acted on information “more than a doubt”.
“Fluoride in drinking water is considered one of the most successful public health initiatives our country has launched,” he said. The children he saw without fluoride, he said, had more cavities, on average, than children with fluoride.
The addition of fluoride to public drinking water systems has been routine in communities across the United States since the 1940s and 1950s. Many municipalities of the United States and other countries do not fluoridate water because for many reasons, including deprecation, feasibility and possibility of obtaining fluorine in other ways.
Critics assert that the health effects of fluoride are not fully known and that adding it to municipal water could turn out to be an undesirable drug; Some communities in recent years have stopped doing this.
The American Dental Association notes on its website that fluoride — along with life-giving substances like salt, iron, and oxygen — can actually be toxic in large doses.
But within the recommended amount, fluoride in water reduces tooth decay or cavities by about 25%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported in 2018 that 73% of the U.S. population is served by this system. full water system. Fluoride to protect teeth.