Corning | A dispute that has divided communities across the country will soon be debated in the Crystal City.
The city Board of Health will meet at 7 p.m. today to discuss the benefits of adding fluoride to the city water supply.
Water fluoridation is the act of adding fluoride ions to drinking water in order to reduce tooth decay in the general population.
“We’re in the discussion stage,” said Dr. Gary Enders, chairman of the Board of Health. “Personally, I think it’s a good idea, and if properly managed is an effective way to help limit tooth decay.”
Mayor Frank P. Coccho said the board is currently collecting information on fluoridation.
Advocates of water fluoridation say it is similar to fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D and orange juice with vitamin C. They claim it to be an effective way to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health over a lifetime, for both children and adults.
Opponents to mass fluoridation of drinking water claim fluoride levels used are too high, that it is mixed with other toxic chemicals and that adverse health effects outweigh beneficial effects. Some say that fluoridation of water supplies is a ruse to dispose toxic industrial byproducts.
The dispute has led to court cases in many communities across the country.
Enders conceded that fluoridation can be dangerous for water department employees.
“They are dealing with chemicals,” Enders said. “But so do many of the professionals at Corning Inc.”
Enders said the board will listen to opinions of the public before making a decision on the issue.
“We’re open to people’s opinions,” Enders said.