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State College Borough Water Authority votes to end fluoridation

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At the Authority’s monthly meeting, nine of the twelve speakers implored the board to continue fluoridating the borough's water. However, the board overwhelmingly voted to end fluoridation.

On Thursday, the State College Water Authority voted to end fluoridation of the borough’s water.

The board members in favor of stopping fluoridation cited concerns about the quality of the fluoride added to the water, health concerns like dental fluorosis and 'forcing' community members to drink fluoridated water. They were adamant the change was not about saving money.

A dozen community members and experts who spoke at the meeting had varying opinions about fluoridation. Dr. Robert Dickson from Alberta, Canada said fluorosis in the U.S. is 'skyrocketing,' and the option to drink water with fluoride should be up to individuals.

“Choice is of the utmost importance. It’s highly unethical to mass medicate, especially without informed consent, monitoring or follow-up,” Dickson said.

Kate Freeman has lived in State College for over 30 years. She said access to fluoridated water is needed in 'under resourced' parts of the community.

“I just want to emphasize the importance of good access to fluoridated water for all members, for all children in our community,” Freeman said.

When the motion was brought to a vote, board member Bernard Hoffnar resigned from the Water Authority due to his strong disagreement with the other six board member’s votes to end fluoridation.

“I’m not gonna vote, I’m gonna resign," Hoffnar said. "I think this is such an unfortunate situation and I don’t want to be part of a group that in fact is gonna hurt the health of the people we’re serving.”

Chairperson Jeffrey Kern says the next step of ending fluoridation is modifying the permit, which will require a submission to the state. The permit modification process will include a public comment period.