Thursday, 04 April 2024 12:38

Health Professionals Advocate for Wilton Fluoridation; Dorothy Nolan Elementary Impacted

Health Professionals Advocate for Wilton Fluoridation; Dorothy Nolan Elementary Impacted

WILTON — A group of health professionals and concerned citizens are advocating for water fluoridation in the Town of Wilton, which supplies water to Dorothy Nolan Elementary in the Saratoga Springs City School District.

The group argues that the Wilton Water and Sewer Authority’s (WWSA) decision not to fluoridate costs families hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased dental costs, due to fluoride’s ability to reduce tooth decay in children. Dorothy Nolan’s fluoridation status currently impacts around 700 students.

“While 75% of American public water systems have adopted fluoridation, Wilton remains an outlier,” Peter J. Lindner, Ph.D, a member of the group and Gansevoort resident, told Saratoga TODAY. “Since its inception in 1945, [community water fluoridation] has been acknowledged for its significant health benefits and cost-effectiveness.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association, and World Health Organization have all advocated for water fluoridation. In February, the Albany Common Council voted unanimously to add fluoride to the city’s water supply.

Other group members encouraging Wilton’s fluoridation include Dr. Claudia Farrell of Community Care Pediatrics, Dr. Wayne Harrison of Harrison Family Dental, former Times Union staff writer Leigh Hornbeck Trombley, and Dr. Bill Maas, a former Dental Director of the CDC.

“The Wilton Water and Sewer Authority (WWSA) oversees our water supply,” Lindner said. “Although it purchases fluoridated water from Saratoga Springs, this supply is limited to a section of the Wilton Mall and does not extend to the broader community, including schools like Dorothy Nolan Elementary.” 

Because some water in Wilton is fluoridated via Saratoga Springs, Lindner said this has resulted in the CDC and New York State Department of Health wrongly deeming Wilton a fluoridated community.

In a statement to Saratoga TODAY, the WWSA explained its position on fluoridation. The WWSA said it does not contend the benefits of fluoride, but believes that it should not be responsible for administering fluoride to its customers. 

“The WWSA strongly believes that our customers and their health care providers should have the right to make their own decisions on fluoride consumption,” the statement said. “Many of the WWSA water customers do not want fluoride added to the water supply.”

The WWSA noted that the request before the board asks for fluoride to be added to the entire water supply, impacting all residents in addition to students at Dorothy Nolan Elementary.        

A 2013 report prepared by C.T. Male Associates for the WWSA estimated that the capital cost of fluoridation in Wilton would be $126,000, with an annual operation and maintenance cost of $13,300. Those costs have likely increased in the nearly 11 years since the report was written. The WWSA said it has no budgetary or logistical concerns over fluoridation.

The WWSA board voted unanimously on March 19 not to fluoridate the town’s water. But due to a minor procedural error, that vote was considered informal. The board will vote again on fluoridation during a public meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. on May 21.

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