The Branson Board of Aldermen held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss fluoride in Branson water; several experts discussed the pros and cons of continuing to fluoridate water.
Dr. Gabriel K. Harr is a dentist in Branson who has practiced for close to a year in Branson and practiced in Kansas for close to five years. He said fluoridation is “the single most effective” way to guard against decay of the teeth. “In my own personal experience moving here to Branson, we have well water, and my kids since we’ve been here have actually had a 30% in cavities in their own mouths,” he said. He cited an American Dental Association study in support of fluoridation.
Harr also said this way of stopping tooth decay is “cost effective” and less than the “cost of one filling.” Harr concluded his time speaking by stating that, “In my expert opinion, it would be in our best interest to continue with the fluoridation in our water system.”
Bill Osmunson offered a different opinion.
Osmunson is a dentist with master’s degree in public health. He has provided treatment for patients for close to 49 years. “For the first quarter of a century, roughly, I promoted water fluoridation; I thought it was beneficial. However, what I was looking at was socioeconomics. The rich are healthier, and the healthier are richer,” Osmunson said.
He said one issue is that people should have freedom to choose. There are different sources of fluoride. The dentist said if one wanted to “force somebody to have the medication, then fluoridation is a good choice, except only about have the people drink the water anyway.”
Another point Osmunson made is that “swallowing fluoride” isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In other words, fluoride is a drug. Its intent is to prevent disease, and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has not approved it, saying that evidence is incomplete for efficacy,” he added.
He also said that they didn’t comment on dosage and safety. Osmunson’s next point was that “many are swallowing too much fluoride.”
The dentist said close to two out of three people show a marker of “excess fluoride ingestion.” In addition, the expert said the benefit of ingesting it is questionable and is determined by how statistics are obtained.
Osmunson’s last two main points were that fluoridating water isn’t safe, and that fluoridating it is not cost friendly. He cited a group of EPA scientists discouraging fluoridation.
“In summary, we hold that fluoridation is an unreasonable risk. That is, the toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits associated with it are so small – if there are any at all – that requiring every man, woman and child in America to ingest it borders on criminal behavior on the part of governments.”
Later, Osmunson mainly focused on the point about cost. As a subpoint, he discussed the cost of treating dental fluorosis, something brought about by increased use and consumption of fluoride.
A connected risk, he said is lower IQ. The dentist noted that toothpaste tubes reflect the FDA’s approval of topical fluoride. It is to be used in a “pea-sized amount” for kids under six.
Still, he said everyone is directed to not swallow it. He said CDER has not approved it with “the intent to prevent dental caries.” “Most countries in the world don’t fluoridate their water,” he said. If one wants fluoride, he said there is “plenty of fluoride in other sources. You don’t need to swallow fluoridated water.”
Earlier in the meeting, Branson Director of Utilities Kendall Powell said that Branson uses fluorosilicic acid for the city’s water. He said that about $60,000 a year is spent on fluoridation process labor. “We also spend approximately $25,000 on our chemical product and roughly around $1,000 in PPE for personal protective equipment for our staff,” Powell said. He added that future “equipment replacement costs” are coming.
Over a dozen people who attended the meeting voiced their opinions.
*Original full-text article online at: https://www.legends1063.fm/news/local-news/should-branson-have-fluoridated-water-experts-on-both-sides-speak/