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State College Borough Water Authority might end fluoridation

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A common, but increasingly controversial practice in drinking water systems is under debate in Centre County. The State College Borough Water Authority is considering whether or not to continue fluoridating its water.

Jeff Kern is the chairperson for the Authority. He said fluoride is much more accessible to consumers now than when it was first added to water.

“It was considered very important at one time before fluoride toothpaste came out, and before dentists applied fluoride to teeth," Kern said. "Nearly all the toothpaste in the stores is fluoridated now, so we’re getting topical applications on our teeth.”

Kern said fluoridation costs the Authority about $70,000 a year. And supply chain problems this year almost kept them from using it. He said multiple studies show negative effects.

“The studies show that too much fluoride in young children can cause discoloring of the teeth," Kern said. "Some studies show that fluoride may or may not have some negative effects on pregnancy. They’re not conclusive."

Kern said they’re using research and public comments to make their decision on fluoridation. They will likely decide on or before July 21, when the Authority will have its monthly meeting.

Logan Groeneveld-Meijer is a radio news intern for WPSU. He is a sophomore at Penn State University majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish.