Union County, North Carolina bans use of fluoride in its water systems

Canada, higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy were associated with lower IQ scores in children ages three and four.

Canada, higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy were associated with lower IQ scores in children ages three and four.
Canada, higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy were associated with lower IQ scores in children ages three and four.

03/04/2024 // Ava Grace // 1.8K Views

Residents of Union County, North Carolina have successfully lobbied their county commissioners to ban the use of fluoride in the county’s water systems.


The decision came after a group of citizens who call themselves the Fluoride Fighters expressed concerns about fluoride’s potential harms. The commission also heard from dentists and supporters of fluoridation, many of whom pointed to the other chemicals added to water to keep people healthy, such as chlorine.


Before the vote, several community members shared their thoughts on fluoride being added to the county’s water.


One community member, Abigail Prado, pointed to a 2019 study that pointed out exposure to fluoride during pregnancy has the potential to harm the baby’s intellectual development. (Related: CDC warns against too much fluoride in kids’ toothpaste, ignores harms from fluoridated water.)


The study she referred to was published in JAMA Pediatrics and it found that in a birth cohort study from six cities in Canada, higher levels of fluoride exposure during pregnancy were associated with lower IQ scores in children ages three and four. Similar observations have been made in North American women, indicating the need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.


Prado told commissioners the loss of a single IQ point translates into a two percent reduction in lifetime economic productivity.


“Even if we take moral and philosophical questions about protecting children out of this discussion, how long can our society bear the cost of knowingly lowering our population’s IQ?” Prado asked.


For decades, municipalities have been adding small amounts of fluoride to water, beginning in 1945 when Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city in the United States to flood its water suppl with fluoride.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to claim that fluoride in the water supplyis vital for helping to keep teeth healthy in young children, and has tied water fluoridation to helping improve dental health in all communities.


Defenders of water fluoridation claim it saves on dental costs

At the last meeting of the Union County Commission, three commissioners voted in favor of the ban on water fluoridation. Following this, a second vote was held to determine if the county should also stop adding fluoride to its water at the Yadkin River Water Treatment Plant, which is owned and operated by the county and provides water to about one-third of the county’s population.


Commissioner Richard Helms wants the fluoride to stay in the water. “My children have grown up on fluoridation in the water and have very few cavities, I rather follow the science,” Helms said. “I tend to follow what the medical professionals tell me.”


“It’s probably the most successful public measure in the history of this Country,” North Carolina pediatric dentist Dr. Frank Courts said. “It saves North Carolina citizens hundreds of millions of dollars in dental care costs.”


Courts said fluoride is most effective on people who don’t take good care of their teeth or go to the dentist.


“I currently work part-time in Ashe County, North Carolina. It’s a rural county and the difference in decay between Ashe County and a fluoridated area is striking,” Courts said.


Water fluoridation has been used by cities for decades to reduce tooth decay. Pediatric dentists told commissioners the practice was not only safe, but it was also essential for those who never or rarely see a dentist.


Dr. Meg Lochary, a Union County board-certified pediatric dentist, told commissioners fluoridation was a public health issue.


“I take care of a lot of people who have terrible, terrible dental health. If you had to sit in my office every day and see screaming 4-year-olds getting teeth extracted, it would be a very personal situation for you too,” said Lochary.


Another implored that fluoride was critical for underprivileged children, whose parents may not brush their teeth or help them get to a dentist.


The American Dental Association calls fluoridation of community water supplies “the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.”


Fluoridated water has been proven to reduce cavities by about 25 percent in children and adults. The CDC named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.


Head over to to read more stories about chemicals in the water supply.


Watch this video discussing how fluoride can cause cancer.





This video is from the Journaltv channel at

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