The water superintendent for Richmond, Vermont, resigned this week after admitting he had lowered fluoride levels in the city’s water below state guidelines for more than a decade.
In a five-page letter of resignation dated Oct. 17, Superintendent Kendall Chamberlin said he had lowered the fluoride level to 0.3 parts per million. The state recommends a level of 0.7 parts per million to protect the dental health of residents.
Josh Arneson, the city manager, said in an email that he was first made aware of the fluoridation issue when the state health department contacted him in June. The department informed him that the city’s water supply, which serves 1,000 people, had not reached optimal fluoridation for more than three years. Mr. Arneson then followed up with the agency in September. Mr Chamberlin – who served as water superintendent for more than 30 years – later admitted in his resignation letter that the city’s water had not reached the state’s recommended fluoride level since 2011 , by design.
At a meeting of the Richmond Water and Sewer Commission on September 19, Mr Chamberlin said he had spoken with some Richmond residents who supported lower fluoride levels. But others were shocked to learn of his actions, which were first reported by local outlet Seven Days.
“It’s a long-term adjustment that he decided to make without letting anyone know, and you’re just not doing it,” Kendra Ramsey, who has lived in Richmond since 2014, told The New York Times.
“Virtually all water, including ground, surface, and sea water, contains fluoride,” according to the Vermont Department of Health’s Fluoridation Guide, “but the level is generally below the optimal amount for help prevent tooth decay.
Water fluoridation and fluoridated dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash were first introduced in the 1940s, the department’s guide to fluoridation says. Despite unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that fluoridation causes health problems, toothpaste use and fluoridation are both credited with the decline of tooth decay in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Howard Novak, a Richmond dentist, said he was “baffled” when he heard the news of the town’s water and expressed concern that some of his patients were suffering from tooth decay.
“It’s indicative of what a person can do in the right position,” Dr. Novak said. “A person pulling the strings can have a significant impact.”
While Mr Chamberlin maintained that he always reported accurate fluoride levels, the Health Department listed Richmond’s fluoridation at 0.7 parts per million in its most prominent fluoridation guide, published in 2021. Mr Chamberlin said it was a departmental error.
The Richmond Water and Sewer Commission voted Oct. 3 to increase the city’s fluoridation levels to 0.7 parts per million, in line with state and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendations. social.
In his letter of resignation, Mr Chamberlin said he was resigning because he believed the move “presents unacceptable risks to ‘public health'”. In his letter and in meetings, Mr. Chamberlin has expressed discomfort with following state guidelines.
“My biggest concern is that right now the only fluoride you can get is from China and you have no control over the quality control that’s going on there,” Chamberlin said at the meeting. of September 19.
Tracy Boehmer, a fluoridation engineer at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email that while sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate are supplied by foreign manufacturers in China and elsewhere in East Asia, ‘Is, all additives used to treat water are tested. .
Forty-eight states, including Vermont, have laws or regulations that only allow the use of certified fluoride products that have been tested, Boehmer said.
Dr Novak said he thought Mr Chamberlin was a nice guy trying to do good in the city, but was wrong.
“It shows the influence things on the internet can have on people’s thought processes,” he said.
At the Water and Sewer Commission meeting on October 3, Mr Chamberlin apologized and appeared to acknowledge that he may have acted on misinformation.
“Words cannot express how sorry I am for causing this controversy,” Mr Chamberlin said. “Believe me when I say, I always had only good intentions based on a misunderstanding.”
#Vermont #city #water #official #resigns #fluoridation #confusion