Richmond Learns a Town Official Lowered the Fluoride Level in Its Water for Years

An employee of the Town of Richmondmay bein hot water for reducing the level of fluoride in the town’s drinking water for years without the public’s knowledge or the consent of town leaders.Water superintendent Kendall Chamberlin, a 37-year worker, acknowledged during a September 19 meeting of the town’s Water and Sewer Commission that he lowered the fluoride level to less than half of what’s recommended by the state due to his own safety concerns.Fluoride has been added to many public drinking water supplies in Vermont and across the nation for decades to prevent tooth decay, particularly in children. It has been shown to be a cost-effective way to improve oral health.While fluoridation has critics, the practice “is considered one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century,” according to the Vermont Department of Health.Chamberlin told commissioners he decided to reduce the levels several years ago because “a couple” of water system users told him they were against fluoridation, and he preferred to be “ahead of the curve” when it comes to removing chemicals from the water supply.“I think to err on the side of caution is not a bad position to be in,” Chamberlin told the commission.But now it’s Chamblerlin who finds himself in a bad position, facing criticism from state health officials, residents, the commission chair and Richmond’s town manager.A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Monday, and Chamberlin, who also sits on the

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