Members of the Houston City Council heard input Monday during a hearing and later at their regular meeting on fluoridation.
The six-member council could decide to continue the 16-year-old practice, opt to end it or place the issue on a ballot. Two years ago, the council decided not to end it.
The most recent debate brought two national organizations to the Texas County seat — one against and another that supports it. Both sides spoke about 10 minutes each at the council meeting.
Dr. Paul Connett, a retired professor of chemistry and current director of the Fluoride Action Network, said the practice, which extends over generations, is unsafe, that children are being overexposed and forcing people to swallow fluoride made no sense. Additionally, he said damage can occur to teeth, bones and the brain, which is supported by study. He urged the council to support a more concentrated effort on education to fight tooth decay, obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
Johnny Johnson Jr., president of the American Fluoridation Society, disputed Connett’s assertions and studies cited. He said across the country, adding fluoride had greatly reduced cavities and introduced studies he said were conducted at the highest standard — including a finding just released that found no damage with even higher doses.
Johnson said public hearings have played out across the country over years, calling it “a waste of time and energy,” adding it is “safe, effective and not hurting anyone.”
The council meets next May 7.