No Fluoride in Worcester County Water - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Weijia Jiang

No Fluoride in Worcester County Water

(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

03/15/2007 10:31 PM ET

OCEAN PINES, Md.- Some Worcester County residents say they are missing out when it comes to their water.

The county does not add fluoride to its water systems.

A few municipalities in the county- including Snow Hill and Pocomoke City- have decided to add the chemical to their water.

According to the Maryland Office of Oral Health, 92 percent of state community water systems have fluoride.

In Delaware, state law requires all water systems to include fluoride. Public health officials say the mandate was passed in 1998, but there is no time limit to when the chemical is added.

The Centers for Disease Control says people who live in areas with fluoridated water are 15-40 percent less likely to experience tooth decay.

But Worcester officials say the county does not have the ability to add fluoride to the water.

"The county has never done that to the water so there is no equipment or supplies," said John Ross, deputy director of the Worcester County Department of Public Works. "Adding the chemical could be costly because we would have to do it to every system in the county. Ocean Pines has five wells alone."

Ocean Pines resident Jack Barnes said he was shocked when during a trip to his dentist's office he found out that Maryland does not require fluoridation.

"My hygienist told me she started seeing bad gums in senior citizens five or so years after they retired to this area. I'm from Pennsylvania where it's the law," Barnes said.

Barnes is concerned that local residents do not know about the lack of fluoride in their water.

"I'm not an expert, but I just want to be informed," he said. "I don't think there's a problem adding fluoride. I think it's a hot topic and people thing it's like adding a disastrous medicine to water but I don't think so."

Sarah Hughes, who works for the county's environmental health division, said overexposure to fluoride could be dangerous for children.

"We would have to use resources to carefully monitor the levels of fluoride in the water.  Right now that's not a state law," Hughes said.


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