Fluoride Action Network

Third time’s the charm: Dallas council members slated to hear water fluoridation briefing — again

KERA | Dec 4, 2023 | By Nathan Collins
Posted on December 4th, 2023
Location: United States, Texas

For the third time in nearly two months, the city’s Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee is scheduled to hear a briefing about the city’s water fluoridation program. That’s according to a committee agenda posted to the City Secretary’s website.

The slated discussion comes after an initial presentation by Dallas water executives and medical experts. But during the presentation, two council members called for a new panel of experts — and a “less opinionated” briefing about the decades-old water policy.

District 7 Council Member Adam Bazaldua initially called for the new briefing.

“I do think that it is somewhat tilted to one side versus another, “which I was trying to avoid.” Bazaldua said during the first presentation.

During the meeting District 9 Council Member Paula Blackmon emphasized the need to look into a policy that has been around since the 1950s — and that she wanted to know what exactly goes into the water supply. Blackmon told KERA after the meeting she “wanted another [briefing] with a different [point of view].”

In early November a second panel of doctors and researchers — this time opposed to fluoridation of community water — made their case for what they believe are its negative consequences.

They cited articles that linked water fluoridation with developmental issues, brittle teeth and lower brain function in children.

But council members were not convinced.

“To come before us and pull-out little pieces here and there, when this was your moment, is just disappointing to me,” District 13 Council Member Gay Donnell Willis said during the November meeting. “It forced me to go in and do a lot of research that didn’t even start with a footnote that middle school presentations have.”

Willis says when she started to dig into the provided briefing materials — there were clear commissions in the panel’s presentation. That includes citing a draft report that at least two American Dental Association executives have called the findings of into question.

“You’ve got the leading authority imploring this group to not put this forth because it has not achieved the peer review that it should,” Willis said during the committee meeting. “Since you’re putting this on the record, I am putting it on the record.”

The second meeting ended with council members agreeing with Willis and saying the panel left out crucial detail. Bazaldua said during the meeting, if policymakers go out and investigate the research on their own and find a lack of context for what is citied in a presentation — “intent of course is going to be questioned.”

According to a committee agenda posted on the City Secretary’s website, the final briefing is scheduled to be presented by Dallas Water Utilities Director Sarah Standifer and Assistant Director Sally Wright.

*Original full-text article online at: https://www.keranews.org/news/2023-12-04/third-times-the-charm-dallas-council-members-slated-to-hear-water-fluoridation-briefing-again