Meadville Tribune

Local News

September 9, 2013

PENNCREST to mull cutting individual fluoride treatments

SAEGERTOWN — In a move that caught fellow school board members off-guard, PENNCREST School Board President Luigi DeFrancesco announced plans to introduce a proposal that would eliminate individual fluoride treatments for students from the school district’s health program.

During the board’s study session Monday night, DeFrancesco said he will lead a discussion on the elimination of the district’s fluoride program during the board’s monthly meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in the administrative office on Route 198 in Saegertown.

DeFrancesco began by saying that because the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists fluoride as a contaminant, “for health reasons, we should remove fluoride from our school system.”

In May, representatives of the Community Initiative for Improved Dental Health presented the results of a year-long study on fluoride to Meadville Area Water Authority, asking the authority to consider fluoridating the water it distributes throughout the City of Meadville and in several surrounding communities. The group was formed in response to a recent state study showing extremely high rates of cavities in children and adults in northwestern Pennsylvania compared to state and national rates as well as studies of data compiled by Meadville Medical Center showing that untreated dental problems regularly rank first or second among reasons for emergency room visits. The group includes representatives from the local dental community, pediatric physicians, MMC, Allegheny College and Crawford Central School District.

That discussion, which inspired a negative response from other local residents, was officially put on hold for at least a year in late June because the authority is in the middle of a major infrastructure improvement project. Authority Chairman Tim Groves said at the time that the authority didn’t believe it and its staff have the time and resources to manage the infrastructure project while simultaneously organizing the community discussions that would precede a decision on fluoride.

PENNCREST board member Fred McDermott, a medical doctor who serves as medical director of radiology services for Meadville Medical Center, disagreed with DeFrancesco.

“Fluoride in drinking water is one of the great public health accomplishments of the last century,” he said, going on to explain that he has never in his life seen as much dental disease as he has seen in Crawford County. “There are 20-year-olds with no teeth in their heads,” he said. “I have never seen anything like it. It’s astonishing — to come out against fluoride is ridiculous.”

McDermott also explained that fluoride, like many other substances that can be beneficial to humans, can cause problems in excessive quantities.

Noting that he had not asked for McDermott’s medical opinion on the matter, DeFrancesco asked if it is possible that bad teeth are genetic.

McDermott responded that there’s enough diversity in the county’s genetic pool that the answer is “probably no.”

According to DeFrancesco, the discussion will continue Thursday.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletraibune.com.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
Business Marquee
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks