TYRONE - Tyrone Borough residents will no longer have fluoride in their water, beginning later this spring.
Council voted 6-2 in a meeting last week to direct the Water Department to begin removing hydrofluorosilicic acid and its associated chemicals.
Concerns about fluoride have been raised recently, including from Water Department Superintendent Ardean Latchford, who said he'd been approached by several borough officials and concerned residents regarding fluoride.
Councilman Mark Kosoglow said he'd watched a documentary revealing fluoride to be a poison and wanted to see it removed from the water supply.
Mayor William Fink also said he'd spoken to some area professionals, including a funeral home director, and learned about the dangers of fluoride.
Council Vice President Christy Ray and councilwoman Courtney Rhoades voted against the motion, saying they wanted time to speak to a dentist before passing it.
"I hope your teeth fall out," joked Ray to council members.
Interim Borough Manager Phyllis Garhart must post a 30-day notice informing borough residents, and then the fluoride removal can begin, Latchford said.
Tyrone Council is not the first local governing body to reject fluoride; the Altoona City Authority voted in 2007 to do the same, citing concerns about potentially negative health effects and a philosophical opposition to "mass medicating" the population.
Altoona Family Dentistry's Dr. Katherine Dangler said despite what people may read on the Internet, fluoridated water is a good thing and she's seen no scientific studies to prove otherwise.
Dangler said she also practiced in Bellefonte and State College, where the water is fluoridated, and said children in Altoona have more cavities because there is no fluoride to harden and strengthen tooth enamel.
While some opponents claim children will still be able to get fluoride from toothpaste or mouthwash, Dangler said, it isn't going to be enough if it's not in the water.
If fluoride is as dangerous as its critics believe, dentists and doctors wouldn't back it, she said.
Latchford said Fink provided him with studies on fluoride, which noted that infants and young children are at risk for fluorosis, a medical condition resulting from overexposure to fluoride at a young age. The American Dental Association said fluorosis has mostly cosmetic effects usually resulting in white stains or streaks on the teeth.
The studies also showed that in children 8 and younger, whose teeth still are developing, high fluoride intake can pit tooth enamel.
Mothers may be mixing tap water with baby formula, Latchford said, unaware that they're doing something wrong.
"If we take it out" they won't have to worry, he said.
But Dangler said anything can be dangerous in excess, which is why it's a dentist's job to monitor patients and see what products are being used in the home. Not having more fluoride is more costly and has more negative consequences, she said.
Latchford said while he has no vested interest in the outcome, the fewer chemicals he has to add to the borough's drinking supply, the better it will taste.
And while Latchford said saving money is not the reason for removing fluoride and its associated chemicals, it will result in $5,000 annual savings to the borough or roughly 91 cents per person.
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.