CORNING — When Corning voters pull the lever on Proposition 1 Nov. 4, they won’t be deciding whether to fluoridate the city’s drinking water.
What they will be deciding is whether to strip the city of the authority to add fluoride to the municipal water supply.
A “Yes” vote on Proposition 1 would prohibit the city from fluoridating its water.
A “No” vote would leave the decision on fluoridation in the hands of the Corning City Council.
Dr. John Gunselman is a Corning dentist who favors fluoridation and hopes to see Proposition 1 defeated.
“If it passes, fluoridation will probably be a dead issue,” Gunselman said.
Gunselman and other local dentists have pushed for fluoride in the city’s water as a method to prevent tooth decay, particularly in children.
They point to the American Dental Association’s endorsement of fluoridation as safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. The association also claims that the effectiveness of fluoridation has been documented in scientific literature for more than 55 years.
Kirk Huttleston of Corning organized the petition campaign that landed Proposition 1 on the ballot.
Huttleston says the scientific verdict on fluoride is mixed.
“Drinking fluoride is going to hurt some of the population a little, and some more than a little,” he said.
But Huttleston said his goal in launching Proposition 1 was to involve the wider community in the discussion of fluoridation proposals.
“This (Proposition 1) will stop the City Council from making this decision,” Huttleston said. “The next time it gets brought up it will be aimed at the whole community and we’ll talk about it.”
Corning Mayor Reed said he has talked to many residents who are confused about the proposition.
“In the simplest of terms,” Reed said in a statement, “if you do not want fluoride in your drinking water, vote ‘Yes’ on Proposition 1. If you want City Council to decide this issue for you, vote ‘No.’”