A wide-ranging group of physicians, environmentalists, dentists and scientists — including a Kansas University professor emeritus — have called on Congress to stop water fluoridation.

The group of 600 professionals said congressional hearings should be held because recent reports indicate fluoridation has no benefits and may pose health risks.

Most water supplies in the United States, including Lawrence, have fluoride added in an effort to reduce tooth decay.

But some say fluoride isn’t safe.

“Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology,” said Arvid Carlsson, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine. “It’s really obsolete.”

Albert W. Burgstahler, professor emeritus of chemistry at KU, has been a longtime critic of fluoride.

Burgstahler co-wrote “Fluoridation: The Great Dilemma,” serves as editor of the quarterly journal “Fluoride” and was a founding member of the anti-fluoridation Fluoride Action Network.

“Why are so many public health officials afraid to admit they could be wrong about things they have stuck their neck out on?” Burgstahler said. “Does their desire to preserve their credibility mean more to them than the well-being and good health of their fellow citizens?”

The group issued a statement that cites a 2006 report by the National Research Council on fluoride toxicology.

“The NRC report dramatically changed scientific understanding of fluoride’s health risks,” said Paul Connett, executive director of the Fluoride Action Network.

Federal health authorities and the American Dental Association, however, strongly support fluoridation.