Speaking in opposition to dentists and doctors in front of the Hastings City Council is not exactly Bob Samuelson’s cup of tea.
Samuelson grew up in Trumbull and graduated with a degree in business administration from Hastings College. He spent 35 years farming and raising hogs 3 1/2 miles south of Doniphan before taking a job selling bearings. He and Marlene, his wife of 45 years, moved to Hastings in March 1990, where they reside today.
As a salesman who travels from Minnesota to Oklahoma and everywhere in between, Bob is not what he would call a “joiner” who belongs to many organizations or gets involved in public affairs.
Upon returning from a sales trip this spring, however, Samuelson noticed an article in the Tribune saying that the City Council had unanimously voted to support fluoridation of the city’s water supply. The article also mentioned that Hastings residents had voted down fluoridation back in the 1970s.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, what’s changed?’ ” he said.
He typed “fluoride” into an Internet search engine and, with Marlene’s help, spent much time reading on both sides of the controversy. They visited Web sites for the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control as well as sites against fluoridation. The preponderance of material was against fluoride, Samuelson said.
“The stuff I was reading was from credible people — doctors, dentists, research scientists — and they were saying how bad this is,” he said.
On the other side, those in favor of fluoridation were never able to prove that it was harmless.
“We came to the conclusion that the risks far outweigh the rewards, if there are any at all,” Samuelson said.