Fluoride Action Network

Fairbanks: Fluoride Task Force has first meeting

Source: Daily News-Miner | March 5th, 2010 | By Joshua Armstrong
Location: United States, Alaska

Bryce Taylor knows that whatever he says about fluoride, it’s going to draw some heat.

“Invariably, there’s going to be that,” the Fairbanks dentist said. “I’m sure both sides (of the issue) will send us a barrage of information.”

Taylor is one of six members of the Fluoride Task Force, which hosted its first meeting Thursday night in the Fairbanks City Council chambers.

The task force was formed to advise the City Council on the benefits and risks of adding fluoride to the public water supply. It is made of six volunteers who are either scientists or medical professionals.

Fairbanks had put fluoride into its water for five decades. The issue has been brought before the City Council before — most recently in 2008 — and proved to be divisive.

Thursday’s meeting revealed no earth-shaking proclamation, as the group deliberated how they would organize information and hear public testimony.

The wealth of information supporting both sides makes matters tough, several members of the task force noted during the meeting.

Taking time to digest all the information will be important to make an informed recommendation to the council, said former University of Alaska Fairbanks dean Joan Braddock, a member of the group.

“If it seems like there’s an easy answer, you probably don’t understand the problem,” she said.

They are led by retired UAF chemistry professor Paul Reichardt. UAF chemistry professor emeritus Dick Stolzberg, UAF economic geology professor Rainer Newberry, Braddock and Taylor were also in attendance. Pediatrician Beth Medford was absent.

The next meeting will be from 7-9:30 p.m. March 16 in the council chambers. Experts selected by Fluoride-Free Fairbanks and the Alaska Dental Society are expected to make presentations and answer questions from the task force.