CANTON – The benefits of fluoride no longer outweigh the risks, said at least one scientist who will speak at the second Citizens’ Conference on Fluoride in Canton this weekend.
Hardy Limeback, associate professor and head of preventive dentistry at the University of Toronto, was part of the National Research Council’s March study looking at the health effects of fluoride in drinking water.
The conference begins Friday and will feature discussions mirroring the council’s report, which finds that fluoride exposure may pose long-term health risks, such as brittle bones, thyroid disorders and even dementia.
“There are so many kids with dental fluorosis that it’s unbelievable,” Dr. Limeback said. “In my opinion we’re spending more money to fix teeth affected by fluoride than we would be if we took it out.”
Presenters include Jennifer A. Luke, William Hirzy, and Donald R. Taves, three of the scientists who wrote the report [sic]. Dr. Limeback also will present information about how the chemical affects the teeth of people of all ages; prolonged exposure to fluoride will make teeth brittle and able to break easier, he said.
Paul H. Connett, professor emeritus of chemistry at St. Lawrence University, said the conference is a chance for scientists and the public to meet and discuss the effects of fluoride in terms anyone can understand. Mr. Connett is director of the Fluoride Action Network, which is sponsoring the conference.
“It’s given a scientific kick in the teeth of water fluoridation,” he said of the council study. “I think people will realize the days of fluoride in the water are numbered.”
Dr. Limeback said that most people he’s spoken with no longer want fluoride in their water, but that governments are hesitant to change. Canton is the only village in St. Lawrence County without fluoride.
“If you live in Massena, Potsdam, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, you’re drinking fluoridated water,” Mr. Connett said. “The proponents have said there’s no health concerns; the council study shows otherwise.”
The conference ends Aug. 1. To register or for more information, visit www.fluorideaction.net.