Restoring fluoride to Conway’s drinking water will take a few more days, Conway Corp. CEO Richie Arnold said.
Conway Corp. has been waiting since November for parts needed to restore fluoridation that Arnold said were supposed to arrive and be installed today. These parts were still on-schedule Thursday afternoon, Arnold said, “but we had to ship back the control panel we’d been sent because it was the wrong one.”
The catastrophic failure of a water line at Conway Corp.’s Roger Q. Mills Jr. Water Treatment Plant over a year ago meant that fluoridation had to be discontinued until a new fluoride injection port could be installed at a location outside the plant. That’s meant the construction of a new structure to house the port and its related components.
The new control panel is supposed to be “ready to ship on the 28th and we’re going to ask them to overnight it, so we’re still on-track to have fluoride by around the end of the month,” Arnold said.
There was a nine-month delay between the failure of the water line and a July 7, 2008, public announcement that the city’s water was not fluoridated.
In the days after the announcement, several local dentists urged Conway Corp. to resume fluoridation as soon as possible. Dentist Terry Fiddler said the situation was “a time bomb ticking,” and that increased dental problems “are a question of when, not if.”
Others said restoring fluoridation should be brought to a public vote. In a recent letter to the editor, Kevin Bailey of Conway wrote: “We had been told by one local dentist that this is a time bomb if we didn’t act fast. Really? Prove it. And I mean proof other than what comes from the ADA, ADH, CDC, FDA and the big money corporate science that we’ve all loved so much over the years … This is unethical because it violates an individual’s right to informed consent to medication. The municipality cannot control the dose of the patient. The municipality cannot track each individual’s response. It ignores the fact that some people are more vulnerable to fluoride’s toxic effects than others.”
A public hearing on the issue has not been scheduled.