Yorktown to Continue Fluoridating Its Water

Yorktown town board members held an informational hearing. After closing it, they voted to continue to add fluoride to the town’s water supply.

In the spirit of open government and before spending taxpayers' money, Yorktown town board members said they wanted to hear from the public on the issue of whether or not they should continue adding fluoride to Yorktown's water. 

After hearing from the Westchester County Commissioner of Health as well as a number of local dentists, pediatricians and residents Tuesday night, Yorktown town board members voted 3-1 to continue fluoridating the town's water.

"At this point, I've heard enough, I made up my mind to continue fluoridation," Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace said.  

Currently, under a local law that was passed in 1965, the town is required to fluoridate its water supply. However, earlier this month the town temporarily discontinued fluoridation because of maintenance at the Catskill and Amawalk facilities. 

"We will continue with looking to make the repairs," Grace said on Tuesday. 

Yorktown Councilman Dave Paganelli said the the cost for the repairs at both facilities is estimated to be between $150,000 and $250,000. He said the discussion on Tuesday was focused on residents having a say on the issue and not so much on the board deciding on the pros and cons of fluoride. 

Severeal health professionals, including Westchester County Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, Yorktown resident and dentist Carl Tegtmeier, Jefferson Valley pediatric dentists Jennifer Blair and Benjamin Dancygier, spoke out in favor of adding fluoride and cited its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay and cavities. 

"The Center for Disease Control has declared that fluoridation is one of the 10 most important public health achievements of the 20th century," Amler said. "We've been drinking fluoridated water in this country for about 65 years. And so it has a long track record of safety and we know that it does prevent tooth decay."

Amler said there are people who have concerns over the safety of the fluoride, but she said it has been determined to be safe. She said anti-fluoride comments have not been based on enough scientific evidence.

"Your oral health is key and essential to the well-being to the rest of your health," she said. "A lot of people think dental health is not important and it's extremely important."

Tegtmeier said town board members had a "tremendous" opportunity to make a difference and give children the benefits of strong dental health by continuing to add fluoride in the water supply. 

The only person who spoke out against adding fluoride to the water was a Croton-on-Hudson resident who felt it was wrong for government to "force" it onto everyone. He also said it was difficult to regulate how much fluoride a person intakes when it is added to the water supply.

"Believe me, kids don't drink tap water," Michael Mamone Jr. said. "Isn't it better for the pediatrician to prescribe the correct amount and have the child given the correct amount, rather than putting it in the drinking water. There is no way a child can get the proper amount by having it in the tap water. No way. They don't drink tap water anyway."

Voting in favor of the repairs were Grace and councilmen Vishnu Patel and Terrence Murphy. Councilmen Dave Paganelli voted against the repairs, while councilman Nick Bianco was not at the meeting. 

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Evan Bray January 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Kudos to the town board. Good looking out.
Desiree Ferenczi January 24, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Agreed. This is a true no-brainer. Why did Paganelli vote against it? Doesn't he believe in science?
Sesh Murthy January 24, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Yes, I would like to see Paganelli post an explanation of his vote. Is he on facebook?
Plamena Pesheva (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 04:36 PM
You can watch the entire Jan. 22 town board meeting by going to the town's website: http://www.yorktownny.org/generalpage/town-board-meeting-videos
Sharon Sutherland January 24, 2013 at 05:10 PM
The inmates are running the asylum. If flouride is safe to ingest then why are consumers advised not to swallow toothpaste? Toothpaste for toddlers does not have flouride because it is not safe. People with thyroid disorders, ch emical
Sharon Sutherland January 24, 2013 at 05:14 PM
The inmates are running the asylum. If flouride is safe to ingest then why are consumers advised not to swallow toothpaste? Toothpaste for toddlers does not have flouride because it is not safe. People with thyroid disorders, chemical sensitivities or neurological conditions were not considered by this town board. Maybe the ability to read medical studies should be a requirement for town board members if they are making these type of decisions.
Scott Petricig January 24, 2013 at 05:57 PM
I have seen way too many arguments that are backed by scientific evidence lately on this website and others to believe that Yorktown is doing the right thing here. I think the possibility of slight health benefits (that can be easily satisfied by simple, proper dental care) is insufficient in comparison to the risks, cost, and ethical considerations.
Jim McKean January 24, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Why is the personal invective necessary? It would be great to hear your reservations on fluoridation, but not when you couch it in such insulting terms. Several of those who spoke in favor of flouridation were, in fact, well credentialed; and while there is debate about the detrimental effects of fluoride, it is just that: debate. meaning that both sides have credible arguments. This meeting had plenty of advance notice; if you so strongly about this why didn't you take the effort to make an appearance and detail your objections?
Dr.SusanRubin January 24, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I'm a dentist who has been on both sides of the fluoride debate. Giving birth to a daughter 16 years ago with congenital hypothyroidism was my wake up call. Fluoridated water is not recommended for those with thyroid issues. Yorktown residents should also note that both the CDC and ADA do NOT recommend fluoridated water for those under 12 months of age. I'm very disappointed that the Drs. Blair, Dancygier and Tegtmeier did not do their homework and are just parroting the stance of the 9th District Dental Association. This film will give more eyeopening information, all of it is backed by solid science. http://www.aninconvenienttooth.org/ I hope that the town board and the Yorktown dentists will some day learn that books, parachutes and minds function best when open. This was clearly not the case this week. Susan Rubin, DMD
Dr.SusanRubin January 24, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Scott, you are correct that the health benefits, if any, do not outweigh the costs. IF fluoride is effective, the only ones who would benefit would be those between the ages of 1 and 7 years old. That is when adult teeth are being laid down in the mouth. The rest of the population is being medicated unnecessarily. 30-40% of those drinking fluoridated water will have discoloration and/or mottling of teeth. Dentists can fix that with cosmetic procedures. The benefits clearly do not outweigh the costs!
James Bankhart January 25, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I remember when we were told mercury amalgam fillings were perfectly safe.There were scores of well credentialed people on both sides. They never did withdraw them since there would be liability problems. Have not been to a Dentist that uses it. I asked my current one when is the last time he used mercury. He laughed and said "Dental School 20 years ago." As Evan said, people are told not to swallow their toothpaste. There is probably a safe and effective amount, what that is, nobody knows.
Dr.SusanRubin January 25, 2013 at 01:58 PM
The ADA does not want to reverse their opinions on both amalgam and fluoride because it would damage the public trust and open them up to all sorts of liability issues.
Curious January 25, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Way after the frequently repeated statement you mention, the CDC also recognized that fluoride is most effective when applied topically and has little to no effect when ingested.
Curious January 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Just want to say that I commend Councilman Dave Paganelli for his NO vote. I believe he is most concerned for the health & well being of all Yorktown citizens as he wanted more information before a vote was taken. It also seems to me that Michael Grace, Terrence Murphy & Vishnu Patel couldn't get this issue out of the way fast enough. Hmm, avoid any possible controversy. I wonder why? Oh yes, they are up for re-election this year. Got it!
Dr.SusanRubin January 26, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Grace, Murphy and Patel are up for election? If so, then citizens of Yorktown should ask them about why they would vote to waste taxpayer money on something like fluoride. I hope folks in your community will take the time to do the homework on this issue that your councilmen and local dentists didn't. http://www.fluoridealert.org/ http://www.aninconvenienttooth.org/ http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=fluoride+deception&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=3277343071&hvpos=1o1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1666099166692757479&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_161kemeb2g_e
Curious January 26, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Dr. Rubin, you might also be interested in knowing that it was mentioned at the board meeting the fluoride product used in the Yorktown water supply (as well as all over the U.S.) is a lower grade product produced in China. Many towns across the country have stopped fluoridating thier water supplies in part due to this. Dave Paganelli began to ask questions regarding this issue & was essentially shot down. The possible future implications of this alone are frightening, given China's past history of imports to the U.S.. Not to mention the adverse effects this product has on the water system equipment. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2011/11/20/clogging_problems_prompted_amesbury_voters_to_reject_fluoride_in_drinking_water/
Dr.SusanRubin January 27, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Of all age groups, infants are the most vulnerable to fluoride toxicity. Due to their small size, infants receive up to 400% more fluoride (per pound of body weight) than adults consuming the same level of fluoride in water. Not only do infants receive a larger dose, they have an impaired ability to excrete fluoride through their kidneys. Healthy adults can excrete more than 50% of an ingested fluoride dose; infants, by contrast, can only excrete 15 to 20%. This leads to a greater build-up of fluoride in the body, and may help explain why infants fed formula made with fluoridated water suffer higher rates of dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth caused by excessive fluoride ingestion during childhood.
fluoride January 27, 2013 at 01:36 PM
The CDC, ADA, AMA, local Health Departments, and all organizations that endorse fluoridating public water have a duty to present the toxicological studies that are required by the ANSI/NSF Standard 60 Health Effects. No federal agency has taken responsibility for fluoridation. The EPA set up the NSF International, a private, non-profit company, and in 1988 replaced its own drinking water additives program with NSF/ANSI Standards 60 and 61, which set public health standards for all chemicals used to treat water and products coming into contact with drinking water. These federal, public and private endorsers of fluoridation are unwilling to demand the studies needed for compliance. ACCOUNTABILITY is vital to maintaining public trust. SAFETY is critical to a high standard of living. We protect the citizenry through regulatory oversight and enforcement of the law. Very strong evidence to discontinue a well-accepted public health intervention is the ABSENCE of the toxicological studies REQUIRED by ANSI/NSF Standard 60. NSF, re-packagers and the suppliers/ manuf¬acturers are not able, or unwilling, to produce them. We need to see the original studies and all the data involved and not some review or opinion of them. Where are they? Endorsements, MSDS sheets are not enough. Publish them or a source where everyone can see for themselves if their chemicals , medicine, or drugs are "safe and Effective".
bertie January 27, 2013 at 08:44 PM
It is a pity that you chose not to appear at the Yorktown Board meeting on this subject, where you could have presented your views not only to the public and the Town Board, but also to the credentialed people who spoke in favor of fluoridation. A good debate would have been illuminating. BTW, are you still practicing dentistry? I had thought you were a nutritionist?


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