Re: The recent Maine Voices opposing fluoridation, by Kennebunk, Kennebunkport & Wells Water District Superintendent Norm Labbe:

This is a health care issue, not one of water treatment. Mr. Labbe is undoubtedly very good in his field, but he has no apparent qualifications to render credible recommendations on a health care issue.

His claims are the same unsubstantiated ones constantly made by opponents, who rely on misinformation from anti-fluoride websites in lieu of that from peer-reviewed science and respected, reliable sources.

There is little validity to any of Mr. Labbe’s claims. However, a couple of points particularly demonstrate the inaccuracy of his arguments.

The “mounting body of evidence” of adverse effects is a common argument of fluoridation opponents. It has no support in credible, peer-reviewed science. When challenged to produce such evidence, opponents invariably cannot do so.

Fluoride has indeed been on the Environmental Protection Agency list of neurotoxins for years. However, also on that list are common substances like aspartame (sweetener), salicylate (aspirin), ethanol (alcoholic beverages), caffeine and nicotine. Optimal-level fluoride is no more neurotoxic than are any of these substances at proper use levels. Saying that fluoride is toxic at improper use levels is an argument that can be made for every known substance, including plain water.

KK&W Water District residents have been savvy enough to cut through the misinformation before, and will undoubtedly do so again. The take-away from my comments: Rely upon accurate information from reliable, respected sources, and request valid evidence to support all claims, as I am always glad to provide for my own.

As stated by Dr. John Doull, toxicologist and chair of the 2006 National Research Council Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water: “I do not believe there is any valid scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level.”