LAYTON — A so-called fluoride debate will proceed even though no fluoride advocates will participate.
For the second time, Utahns for Better Dental Health — Davis, declined to participate in the debate scheduled for this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Davis County Conference Center, 800 W. Heritage Park Blvd. in Layton.
Waterwatch of Utah, an anti-fluoride group, is sponsoring the debate and asked the fluoride advocacy group to be a part of the forum. UBDH declined, saying the debate was unfairly structured.
That hasn’t changed, according to the group’s legal counsel David Irvine.
After receiving notice from Irvine that UBDH wouldn’t participate, Lorna Rosenstein, representing Waterwatch wrote to Irvine, explaining that they set up the meeting, believing it was what Irvine had agreed to in September.
Rosenstein said that they asked Janice Houston, a senior policy analyst from the University of Utah, “an institution well-known as a proponent of fluoridation,” to be moderator and invited UBDH to participate.
But in a second response, Irvine wrote Rosenstein, “Your advocacy group has proceeded completely unilaterally: you selected a date, all public announcements state your sponsorship, no effort was made to find a neutral sponsor, and we decline to be involved in a fait accompli.”
He went on to say “We simply received what is an ultimatum to show up. You announced our participation without our agreement to do so, and you have continued to so state even after we stated we would not participate. This is not our perception of either good faith or ‘fair and balanced.’”
Additionally, Irvine said a prior commitment rules out his participation on Friday.
Rosenstein maintains there is no hidden agenda. She said that Waterwatch’s major concern is in giving the public the opportunity to hear opposing perspectives from professionals on both sides of the issue.
“The format and moderator are of little consequence to us; we are interested in a professional and dignified exchange of information.
“Anything less than this is as undesirable to us as I’m sure it is to you.”
She said that while Waterwatch was listed as the sponsor, UBDH could be included as a joint sponsor on any further notices.
The debate, entitled “Fluoridation: All Things Considered,” will feature notable national fluoride foes, including William Hirzy, a senior scientist (risk assessment) and ranking professional chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. He is senior vice president of the EPA headquarters Professionals’ Union which unanimously opposes water fluoridation; Phyllis Mullenix, a toxicologist and pharmacologist, who is serving as a consultant in litigation involving poisonings from various occupational and environmental exposures; Hardy Limeback, head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, who publicly reversed his position on the safety of fluoride after study; and Rogers D. Masters, president of the Foundation for Neuroscience and Society and a Fulbright Fellow, who co-wrote a paper which reported elevated blood lead levels of 151,225 children in New York who drank fluoridated water.