That is the question.
At least it is today, on this blog. Why am I spending a whole post on this one issue? Because it seems that a lot of people are concerned about it. First off I want to make sure that you realize that I in no way have the right answer to this debate. This post is going to be entirely my opinion (where as the others in this series were not). Are you ready for my opinion?
Personally I don’t think that anyone should have to drink water from their tap that has been fluorinated. Why? I have two main reasons:
1. To me, this issue falls along similar lines as forced vaccinations. No one should ever be forced. Personally, I would like for everyone to get vaccinated and I would like for everyone to get the proper amount of fluorine to help prevent cavities, but I would never condone forcing either of these things on anyone.
Like with vaccinations there is research emerging that claims fluorination can cause a number of very nasty adverse effects. While I’m not going to get up on my soapbox about people jumping to conclusions over a single piece of research when the benefits of something have been very well-documented, I do want to encourage everyone to do their research. But make sure that you are getting your information from high quality sources. What do I mean by that? Look for studies that have been done by a university, not just an individual. Also studies that have been ran by numerous unrelated groups and have still came to the same conclusion. Try to look at the study from all angles asking yourself if the group being studied and the manner in which they were studied was unbiased. A scientific article should never produce an emotional response in you (ie, you shouldn’t feel riled up or angry but instead you should feel enlightened(ish)). It should layout the experiment, the results, and the experimenters conclusions based on the findings and leave you to think about that conclusion and whether or not you reached the same one given the same findings. It should never be persuasive. When an article tugs at my emotions too much I tend to think “what are they trying to cover up by trying to get me worked up?”
(Okay, sorry, that was longer and more soapboxy than I originally meant it to be. Moving on…)
2. The cost. Yes, there are figures out there saying that it costs less than a dollar a year per person to fluorinate, but I honestly don’t buy it. In my city if we had been forced to fluorinate when we were on our previous system (before starting the water clean-up project we are undertaking and building a Reverse Osmosis treatment plant) all of the wells around the city would have had to be fluorinated individually. That in itself wouldn’t have been too bad except that fluorine would have had to be stored at each site and constantly monitored. That is where the cost comes in. You are talking man hours and telemetry systems that aren’t exactly cheap. It may not seem like a lot of money, but it is something to think about when those taxpayer dollars and manpower could be spent somewhere else.