VALPARAISO — A recommendation on whether the city should continue to fluoridate its drinking water will come in two to three weeks.
The Valparaiso City Utilities Fluoride Commission will make a decision at its fifth meeting and formulate a report on it for the City Utilities Board. If it passes there, it will go on to the City Council for a vote.
Commission members didn’t set a date for their next meeting beyond a few weeks into August, but on Wednesday they did finalize some questions and begin clarifying what was two nights of expert testimony.
On June 19, pro-fluoridation experts spoke before the commission, and on June 26, anti-fluoridation experts spoke.
Among the pro-fluoridation experts was someone involved in a study among Indiana University, the University of Michigan and the University of Toronto that countered a previous Chinese study that stated fluoride affects IQ.
Dr. E. Angeles Martinez-Mier — of Indiana University School of Dentistry and a dental scientist who’s worked more than 20 years on fluoride research — said June 19 that her group will present the research at the International Association of Dental Research convention in Cape Town, South Africa.
However, commission member and neuropsychologist Dr. Judith Harrington said she would like to see something from the report, even if it’s a draft.
David Bengs, commission chairman and member of the Utilities Board, said the Chinese study was from an area with high natural fluoride in the water and not pertinent to Indiana. He said he’s comfortable with the safety of fluoride levels in Valparaiso water.
“Because it was decided 60 years ago doesn’t mean it was bad science,” Bengs said. “Some of the studies that they’re using to support arguments on the Internet are BS. In court, they’d be thrown out.”
Other commission members were concerned whether the water method was the best, although at 60 cents per person annually, it seemed the most cost effective.
They also had concerns that all experts said topical application is best, but some people would drink more water than others naturally, affecting individual dosages.
The commission first began looking into fluoride in May.
Group facilitator Stu Walesh, an engineer, said the commission’s purpose is to decide whether the city should be the mechanism to put fluoride into the water supply.
City Utilities Director Steve Poulos said the city chose the six members from among residents with a diversity of backgrounds, including Valparaiso University chemistry professor and water quality expert John Schoer and a nurse and mother, Jennifer Waldo.