MASSENA —The village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing Feb. 15 before it decides whether to eliminate fluoride from the village’s water supply.
The village already is taking its fluoridation level down from 1 part per million to 0.8 ppm, according to Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad. Totally ending the process could save the village about $18,000 a year.
Mr. Fayad said that while there is no requirement that fluoride be added to municipal water, it must be at a level ranging from 0.8 ppm to 1.2 ppm if it is added.
Mayor James F. Hidy said fluoridation may not be as necessary as it once was.
“There’s been indication that because there’s so much fluoride out there, in waters, toothpastes, foods, what have you, that maybe we’re being saturated with too much fluoride and it’s taken a negative effect,” Mr. Hidy said.
Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said the village should go on with its plans even if state and federal agencies never officially recommend removing fluoride from the water.
“I have my doubts the Department of Health would ever say, ‘You should get rid of it altogether,’ because that would be almost admitting that it was wrong to have it,” Ms. Wilson said. “On the one side, it’s a cost thing. … More than that, is it necessary that we’re putting a chemical in the water that not everyone wants in the water?”
Several people at Tuesday night’s meeting, including Trustee Francis J. Carvel, former Mayor Charles R. Boots and Fire Department foreman R. Shawn Gray, remembered the late Dr. Emmett Folgert, a Massena dentist who was a strong local advocate for fluoridation.
“The reason Dr. Folgert was so adamant about it was because he had data, personal data, from his patients of before and after fluoridation,” Mr. Gray said.
Mr. Gray encouraged trustees to seek out data from the St. Lawrence County dental society, comparing towns that don’t fluoridate water with towns that do.
“Then you’re arguing from an educated standpoint as opposed to an emotional one,” he said.
Other health experts, however, argue that persistent exposure to fluoride endangers overall health. Paul H. Connett, a professor emeritus of chemistry at St. Lawrence University, Canton, and head of the Fluoride Action Network, has said federal agencies should be paying more attention to numerous studies, including one published last month, that indicate a correlation between high fluoride levels in children and lower IQs.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended in January that 0.7 parts per million become the maximum standard for fluoride in drinking water.
Last week, the village of Potsdam reduced its dosage of fluoride from 1 to 0.8 ppm.