Letter to the Editor

Kenneth Unice

To the Editor of the Allegheny College Campus:

As a graduate of Allegheny College, I frequently read a copy of The Campus newspaper.

In a recent issue, the pros and cons of fluoridation of the Meadville public water supply were highlighted.

I have always felt the liberal arts education I received at Allegheny prepared me well to consider all sides of an issue.

Fluoridation of the public drinking water is one of those issues.

I have professional degrees in public health and medicine and have practiced in Meadville for several years. I do not support fluoridation of the public water supply.

Let me begin this letter with a definition of public health.

From the World Health Organization, “Public health refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focus on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases. Thus, public health is concerned with the total system and not only the eradication of a particular disease.”

Few would argue that purifying our drinking water supply or tracking down food-borne disease are good public health measures.

I challenge pro-fluoridation supporters to explain how public fluoridation of our drinking water fits the definition of public health.

We still don’t know the long-term effects of fluoridation.

For example, the British Medical Journal recently reported a link between fluoridation and a 30% increase underactive thyroid in England.

Community efforts should be toward preventative dentistry, diet and not fluoridation. Fluoride treatment should be between a doctor or dentist, or a family, not a mandate for the entire public.

In my view, fluoridation does not meet the true definition of a responsible public health intervention particularly with recent concerns of long-term risks.

Meadville, home to students nine months of the year and faculty year-round, is considering fluoridation of the water supply. If you share my concerns, notify the mayor and council or write to the Tribune.

Kenneth Unice, D.O.