The amount of fluoride added to the local public water supply has been decreased to meet new state and federal guidelines but one city resident is asking that the local communities band together to get rid of the chemical.

The Rockland City Council agreed at its May 9 meeting to seek a response from Aqua Maine about the fluoride issue.

The issue was raised in a letter by Rockland resident Bettina Dobbs sent to the council.

“Adding fluoride to the public water supply amounts to mass medication without prescription and has caused many physical complications to unsuspecting populations throughout the land,” Dobbs stated in her letter. “In combination with the CDC’s belated recognition of its overall harm, this might be a good time for the Council to consider holding a referendum to rid us of the poison altogether!”

Rick Knowlton, the vice president for operations at Aqua Maine, said the Maine Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection both issued a recommendation in January for public water suppliers to reduce the amount of fluoride from 1.0 parts per million to 0.7 parts per million. The water company followed those recommendations and reduced the fluoride content.

Fluoride is added to water for dental health purposes. The letter from Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the lowering balances the effort to reduce tooth decay while limiting any health effects from fluoride.

Knowlton said the recommendations were made because it took into account that people get fluoride through other means such as toothpaste.

The water company official noted that the decision to add or eliminate fluoride is a public policy decision to be made by the communities. He noted there was a referendum in the late 1960s or early 1970s among the local communities in which the residents agreed to add fluoride.

He said another referendum would have to be held before fluoridation could be stopped in the Camden-Rockland division of Aqua Maine.

The local division serves people in portions of Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, Warren and Owls Head.