BELLOWS FALLS A grant awarded to the Bellows Falls Water
Department to replace its water fluoridation equipment sparked
recent debate among village trustees.
On Tuesday night, trustees tentatively voted 3-2 to accept a
$14,170.85 grant from the National Association of County and City
Health Officials (NACCHO) for its oral health fluoridation
The Village Water Department was only one of 17 recipients of
the grant, which is funded through support [from] the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
Brian Joslyn, chief operator of the Water Department, says the
money would be used to replace several pieces of equipment used in
water fluoridation, the most expensive being a $7,000 online water
Trustees were initially cautious. Given the concern surrounding
fluoridating public water, they questioned whether the grant
agreement would require the village to repay the money should the
community decide at some point to stop fluoridating its water or
not appropriate the money to fluoridation at all.
I did get a copy of an agreement with another municipality that
doesnt have a kind of obligation of that sort, Municipal Manager
Shane OKeefe told the trustees, So, Im pretty confident that we
would not be obligated to pay them back.
Bellows Falls has fluoridated its public water for many years.
OKeefe recalled a debate about 12 years ago over stopping the
pratice that ended with a decision to continue.
Some trustees say theyve received complaints from citizens
opposing water fluoridation since the announement of the grant
Trustee Stefan Golec said he was contacted by two residents who
said they planned to start a petition in opposition if the grant
A brief exchange occurred between Trustees Debra Wright and
James McAuliffe over the topic. While Wright understands the
external application of fluoride (e.g. toothpaste, for example),
many studies point to serious health risks of ingesting fluoride,
particular for people with high sensitivity.
McAuliffe expressed confidence in the scientific support and the
work of the local water department.
[Having seen] the good [fluoridating the water] has done,
particularly in a village like this, with our demographics, to add
rampant tooth decay to all the other issues that wer...