May 17—MASSENA — Whether to add fluoride to village water was an unanswered question during Tuesday’s Massena Village Board meeting.
Trustee Kenneth J. McGowan said no, trustee Shelyn K. Peets said she was on the fence, and Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said yes.
The debate came following a motion to approve bids for supplies for the village’s water treatment plant. The supplies included diatomaceous earth, chlorine and hydrofluosilicic acid (HFS), which is used for fluoridation.
Mr. McGowan said he would vote no if the HFS was included. Mr. Paquin said he’d vote no if it was taken out.
The end result — the order of HFS was taken out, at least temporarily until a state Department of Health representative could brief the board on the pluses and minuses of fluoridation.
Mr. McGowan questioned the inclusion of HFS on the supply list.
“I had raised a question after our meeting last month why the village is still putting fluoride in village water,” he said.
He said he had shared information that indicated fluoride was not necessary in the water.
“I’m not in favor of adding fluoride to the water. I think it’s an outdated practice,” Mr. McGowan said. “Fluoride is really a medicine, and why are we adding that to the water? You can’t control the dosage. I think in today’s world most people take care for their own dental issues. I don’t think we should be putting fluoride in the water, especially if it’s almost $60,000. I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
Mr. Paquin said he did a Google search and found that the American Dental Association recommended fluoridation.
“They mentioned that how many school hours are lost because of disease,” he said.
“There’s two sides to the story,” Mr. McGowan said. “I know how I brush my teeth and I don’t swallow my toothpaste. I spit it out. Why are we ingesting it?”
Department of Public Works Superintendent Marty G. Miller said there was a process that had to be followed if adding or removing fluoride from the water.
“Department of Health is a major player in this game. I know we would have to notify the DOH. There’s a process that has to take place,” he said. “The DOH would gladly come to a meeting and basically have a conversation with the mayor and the board as to why they feel it’s essential.”
Mr. Miller said he would contact the Department of Health and arrange for a representative to meet with the board at a future meeting.
Mr. McGowan wondered how much of a supply was on hand.
“We don’t have a big supply on hand. We don’t keep a big supply,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s delivered in cylinders. I haven’t got a big stockpile of it. It’s $22,364 for the year.”
“Which is still substantial,” Mr. McGowan said.
Ms. Peets said she had also done some research.
“There’s two sides to every story. So, I’m still on the fence about it. I’m more inclined to vote no at this point without more information,” she said.
Mr. McGowan, Ms. Peets and Deputy Mayor Chad L. Simpson agreed to accept the bids for the diatomaceous earth and chlorine, which Mr. Miller said was needed, but not the HFS.
“The liquid chlorine and the diatomaceous earth, those are needed for the operation of the plant,” he said.
“I would be in favor of that,” Mr. McGowan said.
Mr. Paquin cast the lone no vote because the HFS was removed from the motion. Trustee Christine M. Winston was excused from the meeting.
“I’m voting no on this because studies have shown that it’s beneficial. Seventy-five percent of all communities do this. It’s not harmful. It doesn’t poison the body,” Mr. Paquin said.
*Original full-text article online at: https://news.yahoo.com/massena-village-trustee-raises-concerns-222000422.html