The York Water Company does not add fluoride to most of the water supply.
West Manheim Township: In 2007, York Water purchased the fluoridated West Manheim water system. As a condition of the acquisition, York Water agreed to continue to fluoridate West Manheim’s water.
York Water’s Fluoride Policy
The Board of Directors of The York Water Company has completed an extensive review of the issue of whether or not to add fluoride to the water distributed by the Company to its customers. Included in the review were comments received by phone or in writing from many of the Company’s customers; comments from various medical, dental, and health interest groups; legal issues pertaining to the subject; and, a very thorough and extensive in-house report prepared by the Company’s management which included substantial studies from various research reports and groups. The review process is continuous and has been conducted carefully and deliberately over a period of years.
From information reviewed, each member of the Board of Directors believes that fluoride received by children in appropriate dosages is of significant assistance in reducing the incidence of tooth decay in those children. Such appropriate dosages, which may or may not be received via the public water supply, can be received by children in various other ways including brushing with a toothpaste containing fluoride, receiving special fluoride treatments from their dentists, by tablets administered under the supervision of their parents or guardians or schools and by the purchase of bottled water containing fluoride. It is the Board’s understanding that fluoride tablets for many years have been, and continue to be, made available free of charge, with parental permission, to elementary school age children who attend the York City School District. The Company has not been made aware of any other school districts or clinics in the Company’s service area that also provides similar no-cost fluoride treatment.
The Company’s Board of Directors is also aware that the introduction of fluoride into the water supplied by the Company would not only affect all children within the Company’s service area, whether the parents give their permission or not, but would also affect each and every customer, regardless of the age, regardless of the appropriateness, regardless of the current level of personal fluoride intake or personal sensitivity to fluoride, and regardless of the personal choice of those customers. It is impossible for the Company to provide fluoridated water to some areas of our distribution system and remove it from other areas.
A decision to add or not to add fluoride to the Company’s water supply is fundamentally a question involving the public health and well-being of all of the customers in the Company’s service area. Because of these concerns, the Company believes that the appropriate forum to address that issue is a governmental body responsible for public health and water quality standards. Furthermore, the Board is aware of the long-standing practice of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that does not require water suppliers to add fluoride to water supplies, but makes it difficult to discontinue fluoridation once it has begun. In fact, in 2008 the Company acquired the West Manheim water system, which was a fluoridated system. The agreement to acquire the West Manheim system required York Water to continue with fluoridation. Since the West Manheim system was at the end of the distribution system, it was physically possible to continue to provide fluoridated water to those West Manheim Township customers.
Accordingly, while the Board is appreciative of all the materials and comments that have been provided to it, both in favor of and against adding fluoride to the Company’s water supply, the Board believes that the issue is one that can only properly be resolved at the state or national level and has therefore reaffirmed its prior policy in the following terms:
The matter of fluoridation of a public water supply basically involves a question of public health and is therefore a societal decision, with significant legal considerations. Decisions on all public health questions should be made by National or State Public Health Authorities or by the legislative branch of the government.
We stand ready, willing and able to fluoridate the water supplied by The York Water Company to its customers upon receipt from one of the following bodies who have jurisdiction over water quality matters of:
- A proper order from the Environmental Protection Agency requiring the fluoridation of public water supplies throughout the United States.
- A proper order from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, or the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission requiring fluoridation of public water supplies throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Enactment of a statute by the Legislature of Pennsylvania, signed into law by the Governor, requiring the fluoridation of public water supplies throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.