Fluoride Action Network

Meadville: Both sides must be represented at public events as community considers fluoridation

Source: The Meadville Tribune | August 23rd, 2016 | By Chris Knapp

One of the purposes of an institutional mission statement should be to guide the organization, spell out its overall goal and provide a path and a guide for decision-making.

The Meadville Area Water Authority (MAWA) mission statement is “to provide high quality, safe, dependable water service with sound water management practices at rates that encourage economic development, emphasize customer service and protect our environment. Protecting our water source is at the heart of our community our way of life and our children’s future.”

I think that this is a wonderful mission statement, in particular the parts about safety and protecting our children. Metaphorically speaking, It is not an exaggeration to say that from recent studies on fluoride in America and worldwide that as far as protecting our children and public water supply here in Meadville and parts of Vernon and West Mead townships that the wolf is at the door and we are welcoming him with open arms.

The local pro-fluoride group is so confident in its position it has decided not to enter into discussions with Michael Connett, who is coming to Meadville at Clean Water Meadville (the local anti-fluoridation group) expense early in October. Michael is the executive director of the Fluoride Action Network. This throws up many red flags when a group of people refuse to enter into civil discussion with an expert who holds a position that is different than their own. It is discouraging to see representatives of Meadville Medical Center take this position as they have a higher calling to provide informed consent to the community at large. Informed consent is when all of the facts about a drug are presented and the patient makes the decision about taking that drug. It shouldn’t matter how much representatives of the hospital think it is wise to consume fluoride. It should be an individual’s choice.

Representatives of Allegheny College also will not enter into discussions. I grew up in Meadville and Allegheny College always had the reputation of valuing well-thought-out arguments. Fluoridation is a national problem and it is disappointing to see representatives of Allegheny lean their considerable weight into this issue. This stance causes me to feel like Allegheny representatives have taken the position of authority and we are to submit to the higher-educated minds on the hill.

It is true that 70 percent of Americans drink fluoridated water. It is often not by choice. Most American citizens drink administratively-mandated fluoridated water (mandated by city councils and water authorities). Most are in urban settings like Meadville. The Happy Smiles Group will not participate in discussions because they say it is a local issue so they will only have local people in the discussions. It is interesting to note that the Happy Smiles group brought in dentists from Erie when it promoted fluoridation at Stone Church.

It is also interesting to note that when there is an avenue to a referendum that fluoride is defeated in a majority of cases by a 60-40 margin and although the pro-fluoride forces want to convince you that this is a local issue, it is disingenuous to do so. The oral health crisis ravages communities across the United States due in large part to access to care (70 percent of dentists do not take public assistance insurance) and the other top cause is a poor diet. No amount of any drug can change this.

The Happy Smiles group even has a committee member on the water board (Dr. Dennis Finton) who has tried to arrange fluoride meetings and influence water board members. We are very unhappy that he is on the board that will make the final decision about fluoride. We do not think it is fair for him to advance a personal agenda under the guise of public service. I only hope that all water board members will refer to their mission statement to guide them through this process.

People deserve to hear the entire truth, not just one side of the argument. I think that it is very possible for both sides to sit down in a respectful and civil way and have a discussion that will be beneficial to all. There can be no argument that the representatives of the hospital and Allegheny hold the power, however, my definition of power is strength under control in fairness to all.

I have contacted ARMSTRONG cable, it is agreeable to providing a forum for this discussion and has advised me to be in contact when we have secured participants for both sides. We have arranged for Michael Connett to come to Meadville and we are awaiting responses from representatives of Meadville Medical Center and Allegheny College.

Local chiropractor Chris Knapp is an outspoken member of Clean Water Meadville, which opposes fluoridation of Meadville Area Water Authority’s water.