The Newburyport Board of Health will host an open discussion about the use of fluoride at its regular meeting Thursday at the public library beginning at 7 p.m.
The topic is listed as “Fluoride: City of Newburyport Drinking Water.”
The session is expected to continue a public discussion introduced last spring, when numerous speakers appeared at a City Council meeting to express their concern that fluoride can be damaging to some who imbibe the city’s drinking water.
Councilors sent the measure to a council committee, whose members suggested the matter by discussed by the Board of Health.
Cities such as Amesbury have taken measures to remove fluoride from the water, and anti-fluoride proponents are asking that municipal leaders consider removing it in this community.
Dr. Dan Eyink, a local physician and advocate of natural healing, is among supports ridding the water system of fluoride.
Eyink is a member of Health Roundhouse, a group that describes itself as concerned citizens working to improve the health and well-being for Newburyport residents and visitors.
“We want to remove a poison from the water,” said Eyink. “We are a green city but we are adding poison to drinking water. There should be freedom of choice” on what goes into the water.
Opponents of fluoride say at one serious factor in permitting fluoride in drinking water is that it is difficult to regulate dosing, since those who drink water consume it in widely varying amounts.
V.L. Zanfagna, a pharmacist in Newburyport, in June wrote a letter to this newspaper stating, “Recent announcements by Harvard scientists show an average 7 to 14 percent deficit in IQ testing among adolescents living in fluoridated area.
The letter added, “Fluoride is classified as a toxic and endocrine disruptor, and has never been approved by the FDA.”
Discussion of fluoridation in public-drinking supplies has fostered disagreement since the ’50s, authorities say.
According to public records, the American Dental Association calls water fluoridation “one of the safest and most beneficial, cost-effective public health measures for preventing, controlling, and in some cases reversing, tooth decay.”
And “The fluoridation of public water has been hailed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as one of the top medical achievements of the 20th century. It is ranked No. 9 on this list ahead of ‘Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard,’ according to citations on the resource Wikipedia.
Mayor Donna Holaday could not be reached for comment.