An anti-fluoride organization, the Cape Ann Fluoride Action Network, has been very vocal and proactive in its opposition to the use of fluoride in the water supplies of both Rockport and Gloucester.
In early August, the group conducted a two-day presentation at Rockport High School by national organization director and noted biochemist and toxicologist Dr. Paul Connett, who presented information about the effects of fluoride on the body, the environment, and especially its potential harm to children.
Fluoride proponents had been fairly quiet on the issue until this week when 35 Cape Ann area dental professionals signed a public letter supporting the use of fluoride.
Rockport will have an opportunity to vote on a non-binding warrant article at Monday’s Fall Town Meeting, which asks residents whether or not they favor discontinuing fluoride supplementation of the town’s water supply.
At their meeting this week, the Rockport Board of Selectmen debated whether it should go on record either in support of or against the article before Monday’s Town Meeting.
After discussing the matter, the board decided not to take a position. However, board members said that, as individual citizens, they might speak for or against the proposal and vote on Monday.
In the public letter in favor of fluoridation, written by Gloucester orthodontist Dr. William R. Bebrin, it states that “fluoridation’s public health benefits have been acknowledged by many respected health and scientific organizations, including the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Medical Association, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.”
Karen Tysver of the Cape Ann Fluoride Action Network said just days after Connett’s August presentations that many people (approximately 80 people in attendance at the second forum) were hoping the pro-fluoride side would participate in the discussion.
At the time, she reported that just three area medical professionals attended the first of the two August forums and none appeared at the second one.
“Apparently they don’t feel a need to discuss the public’s concerns,” she said. “Dr. Connett changed the format to a more general waste lecture (in order to coax officials from the proponents’ side). Fluoride is toxic waste and our bodies are not toxic waste dumps.”
Bebrin’s letter disputes that claim, saying fluoridation has been cited as one of the leading and most successful health measures of modern times.
“The CDC states that fluoridation is one of its 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century,” Bebrin wrote.
“Fluoridation communities do show an increase in the incidence of dental fluorosis, usually characterized as a mild esthetic alteration in tooth appearance. However, after many years of research, there is no compelling evidence that community fluoridation presents any increased risk of any increased medical disease or condition,” he added.
Tysver said the anti-fluoride network sent out mail invitations to every Cape Ann area MD and dentist to attend the August forum.
“We let them know we would have an open forum so that they could challenge anything Dr. Connett presented and then present their own science to the public,” she said. “This is the typical response from pro-fluoridationists to people working for pure water. They ignore, dismiss as marginal, and ridicule – yet present no argument except to parrot the ADA statement that fluoride is safe and effective. The ADA collects tens of millions of dollars from (corporations) like Proctor and Gamble and Colgate.”
If there is a favorable vote on the measure at Monday’s Town Meeting, it could be placed on the local November election ballot, according to selectmen.