The Melbourne City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, on whether or not to keep adding fluoride to city utility customers’ drinking water.
The meeting will allow the council to receive information from all sides on the topic of drinking water fluoridation and allow the public to provide input. City Manager Shannon Lewis will introduce the agenda and speakers, followed by presentations supporting and opposing water fluoridation.
The opposing presenters will include Melissa Gallico, an analyst, author and activist, and Dr. Paul Connett, a chemistry professor emeritus at St. Lawrence University, a specialist in environmental chemistry and toxicology and executive director of the nonprofit Fluoride Action Network. The supporting presenter will be Dr. Johnny Johnson Jr., retired pediatric dentist and president of the American Fluoridation Society. Following the presentations, the public will be allowed time to provide comments on the topic before the council decides on action concerning the issue.
Almost 75 percent of U.S community water systems are currently fluoridated, a practice that began in 1945 with a controversial experiment by the U.S. Public Health Service conducted in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The major public health advantage cited by proponents of fluoridation of drinking supplies is the prevention of cavities and tooth decay. Opponents claim that fluoride deceases IQ and causes conditions like anemia and Alzheimer’s.
The City of Melbourne water system, which serves the barrier island from south of Melbourne Beach to just north of Satellite Beach, began adding fluoride to its drinking water supply in the mid-1960s.
Both Dr. Connett and Dr. Johnson were recently quoted in an NBC News online article published on Oct. 17, 2018.
Dr. Connett, an opponent of water fluoridation, stated: “There’s umpteen ways that fluoride can cause damage. The prevailing attitude is that people who are opposed to fluoride are crazy, so I didn’t want to be stigmatized that way.”
Initially skeptical of the anti-fluoridation movement, Dr. Connett’s organization aims to end fluoridation worldwide, and he sites studies that connect higher fluoride exposure with lower childhood cognition. One such study was a 2017 study on children in Mexico.
Dr. Johnson, who supports fluoridation, states that the anti-fluoride movement is “cult-like” and says “you cannot tailor public health to the whims of a small group of people. If you are doing that, you are harming a large group of people.”
He claims that the scientific method in studies used by anti-fluoridation groups is flawed. “It’s as though you have something you want to prove, so you look at other countries that have naturally high levels of fluoride at multiples of what we have in the United States, and they see changes and then they backwards extrapolate it to water fluoridation. You can’t do that in science.”
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chamber of Melbourne City Hall, located at 900 East Strawbridge Ave. All customers on Melbourne’s city water system are encouraged to attend the meeting if interested, as the council’s decision on the addition of fluoride to the water will affect those consumers. The area affected will include Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Satellite Beach, Palm Shores, Melbourne Village, West Melbourne, as well as unincorporated areas of Brevard County south of Pineda Causeway.
*Original article online at http://veronews.com/2019/01/24/fluoridation-becomes-hot-council-topic/