Pro-fluoride forces are taking their turn to go on offense.
After weeks of hearing an anti-fluoride group lobby for its side, the Jefferson-Lewis County Dental Society and other supporters are ready to make their case for keeping the colorless and tasteless chemical in the city’s water supply.
Dr. Andrew E.C. Crossley, president of the Jefferson-Lewis County Dental Society, said Friday it was time to rebut some of the information anti-fluoride activists have been circulating.
The anti-fluoride group has been so vocal that Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham recently said it’s possible the Watertown City Council would end the city’s fluoride use if the matter came to a vote.
But Dr. Crossley said, “They can be as vocal as they want, but when you come down to it, I think the facts are behind us.”
The dental society and other supporters are bringing in a pro-fluoride expert to address the council at the June 10 work session to discuss why the city should keep fluoride.
Dr. Jayanth Kumar, director of the state Department of Health Dental Bureau, is scheduled to attend the City Council work session June 10 to give his views on fluoride. Dr. Kumar, who could not be reached to comment, and his office have issued papers in support of fluoridation.
The dental group asked him to come to Watertown, Dr. Crossley said.
“Dr. Kumar has spoken all over the country,” he said.
The dental society wants his input, in part, to rebut Paul H. Connett, a professor emeritus of chemistry at St. Lawrence University, Canton, and the head of Fluoride Action Network, who recently gave a presentation to the council about fluoridation’s risks.
Dental society members and the North Country Children’s Clinic also plan to send letters to council members to lobby for their support.
Health practitioners argue:
• Fluoride is an effective, safe and inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay.
• It keeps tooth enamel strong and solid.
• Community fluoride is considered one of the 10 great public health accomplishments of the 20th century.
• Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented with the chemical.
• It reaches 69 percent, or 184 million people, through public supplies.
In recent months, Watertown Anti-Fluoridation Action, a group of more than 40 residents, has been attending council meetings to lobby the council to remove fluoride. The city began adding fluoride to its water in 1962.
Organizer Troy M. Walts, 380 Brainard St., said he invited Dr. Kumar to speak before the group on the day he will visit Watertown and to participate in a public forum. He declined both invitations, Mr. Walts said.
He also disagreed that the group has disseminated false information, saying its members have presented studies and research.
The group recently opened an office at 223 J.B. Wise Place, Suite 23. It will give a presentation at Northern Lights Chiropractic, 1116 Arsenal St., on Wednesday and attend a health fair at Fort Drum on June 29.