Meadville Medical Center has announced plans to host a community discussion on the benefits of water fluoridation Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Stone United Methodist Church in Meadville.
The meeting is open to the public and is expected to feature presentations from medical professionals, pediatricians, dentists and others, according to Dr. Denise Johnson, Meadville Medical Center’s chief medical officer.
The opposing view will not be represented at the meeting.
“The initial plan was to have a completely open forum to present both sides of the issue, but the opposing side wasn’t able to present at that time,” Johnson said. “But it’s open to the public for questions and concerns.”
Chris Knapp, a local chiropractor, opponent of fluoridation and member of Clean Water Meadville, an anti-fluoride community group, explained that the group was not informed of the event in advance enough to bring in an outside expert it felt was key. As a result, the group chose not to participate in Thursday’s event. However, Knapp said he looks forward to bringing the expert, Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network, to Meadville to speak to government officials, members of the public and perhaps participate in an open forum.
Meadville Medical Center chose to go forward with the event in an effort to provide information as it is one of numerous organizations that strongly supports and endorses water fluoridation, Johnson said.
“We want to make sure we educated the community on fluoride and what we see as a need for fluoride in our community,” she said.
Other reasons for addressing the topic publicly at this point include results of community health assessments, which showed many county residents reporting poor dental health and poor access to dental care, according to Johnson.
Members of the public can send fluoride-related questions to MMC via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit meadvillesmiles.com for more fluoride information.
Groups in favor of and in opposition to fluoridating Meadville Area Water Authority water are active. You can learn more about them and their positions online at meadvillesmiles.com and cleanwatermeadville.org.