Two years ago, adding fluoride to the public water supply became a hot-button issue in the village of Poynette. This week, the issue was stirred up in Portage.
A city committee listened Thursday to Ray Gramza of Portage rail against the substance that was added to municipal water supplies across the country in the 1940s to improve dental health.
“This is crazy,” Gramza told members of the Municipal Services and Utilities Committee. “I am no scientist, but I have done enough research to know that we were duped.”
Gramza said water fluoridation is not safe or effective and is linked to negative health effects like bone disease, thyroid issues and lower IQs.
“It is poison. … I want people to know the truth,” Gramza said.
Committee members did not have much to say in response to Gramza’s comments Thursday, but they said they would review DVDs and literature about the subject that Gramza provided them.
After the meeting, Common Council member Rick Dodd said that it was too soon to make a decision on which way to proceed on the issue. The public would have to be heavily involved in any changes, however, he noted.
Dodd suggested that a referendum on water fluoridation could be a possibility. A “groundswell” of public support one way or the other would be important.
In 2009, the village board in Poynette held a referendum on the issue. Residents voted by a more than 2-to-1 margin to have fluoride in their water.
Fluoridation in drinking water does not affect the appearance, taste or smell and is said to help prevent cavities in children and adults who consume it.
The practice has been endorsed by the World Heath Organization, the U.S. surgeon general, the American Public Heath Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which listed fluoridation as one of the 10 best public health accomplishments of the 20th century.
Gramza pointed to the book “The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There” written by Paul Connet, James Beck and H. Spedding Micklem as well as the Fluoride Action Network website (www.fluoridealert.org) as sources where people can get more information.