To the editor:
The GPIWA initiated the path to bringing the fluoride level to the optimum because it is of benefit to people of all ages by fighting tooth decay, from children to senior citizens (of which we have a few.) It has been in use in the United States for over 60 years, that is four generations; kids, parents, grandparents and great grandparents. The overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence supports the use of fluoride to reduce cavity formation for all ages. But in addition to the scientific evidence, consider this:
1. The Pine Island pioneers used well water that had from seven to 10 times the fluoride level that GPIWA intends to use. I met a person whose family has been on the island for three generations and used well water. The only effect they noticed was that they all had great teeth. Virtually no tooth caries.
2. For over a decade after the water company supplied water to the residents of Pine Island, the fluoride content was more than the optimum level currently proposed. No health problems were noted or reported. Why?
3. The city of Fort Myers has been fluoridating its water since the 1960s. They add to the 0.8 ppm level, slightly higher than GPIWA's intended level of 0.7 ppm. They serve over 62,000 residents without problems.
4. North Fort Myers has a large plant serving over 225,000 people since 2006 with the same amount of fluoride as the city of Fort Myers. Also without problems.
5. Over 50 percent of the residents of Lee County drink fluoridated water. What are their problems from this source?
6. Over 75 percent of the residents Florida on community water systems ingest fluoridated water. What are their problems from this?
7. About two-thirds of Americans (200 million) drink fluoridated water. If the problems that the anti-fluoride group projects really exist, why aren't the problems they project being reported by the news media? It may be that they don't exist.
Fluoride, at the appropriate level, has been determined to help fight tooth decay. It is being used by millions of Americans without problems. While we confirm that Pine Islanders are special, in this area we wouldn't expect the effects of fluoridation to adversely affect them any more than other Americans.
Unless these questions can be answered and confirmed, there is no reason for Pine Island residents to not enjoy the positive effects of bringing Pine Island's water to the optimum fluoride level to help fight their tooth decay.
Dr. Dennis Ward, PhD, ChE
St. James City