ONEIDA – Oneida residents had the opportunity to sit in on two meetings regarding fluoridation of the city’s water supply Monday.
He noted that 97 percent of Western European countries drink non-fluoridated water; however, the majority of Americans live in areas with fluoridated water.
“Just because something occurs naturally, doesn’t mean it’s good for you,” said Connett, adding that “nature” chose not to use fluoride in any biological processes.
Connett told those in attendance that fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, a mottling of the tooth enamel caused by excess fluoride exposure during tooth development.
Later Monday evening, the Oneida Common Council held a public hearing on fluoridating the city water supply. There was a standing room only crowd in the Common Council Chambers.
Speaking was local dentist Dr. Samuel Barr, a proponent of fluoridation (http://www.dentist13421.net/fluoride.html), and Connett.
Connett again presented his views on fluoridation, asking the crowd how many opposed fluoridation to which about half the audience raised their hands.
During his presentation, he noted that there are alternatives to putting an additive into the water supply which include education of dental health starting in nursery school- teaching proper toothbrushing techniques, and opting for healthy snacks instead of sugary ones.
“This is what the taxpayers money should be going into,” Connett said.
Barr’s views on fluoridation included ideas that fluoride is not a medicine and is helpful in prevention of tooth decay, and that adding fluoride to the municipal water supply would be in trace amounts. Barr also said the addition of fluoride is endorsed by virtually every public health organization.
Barr has noted that too much fluoride can discolor teeth, but noted the trace amount of fluoride that would be added to a water supply would not cause severe fluorosis.
Disputing Connett’s statement that fluoride is a “neurotoxic,” Barr noted that at high doses, even oxygen can cause death or blindness.
Fellow Oneida dentist Dr. Edward Decastro said that there have been “plenty” of studies that indicate fluoride does not cause cancer.
Local residents also weighed in with opposing viewpoints.
Oneida resident Paul Newsom stated that chlorine that is also added in to public water supplies is far more toxic than the amount of fluoride that would be added to the water.
Elizabeth Carnevale, another Oneida city resident, noted that she was a proponent of dental health education, and felt there should be “no rush” to make a decision about fluoridation.
No council action was taken on the issue of fluoridating the city’s water supply.
Oneida City Mayor Max Smith told those in attendance that the council would be taking all input received from the public into consideration when making any future decisions regarding putting fluoridation to a vote.