Former Western Springs trustee James Maragos appeared before the Board of Trustees at Monday’s regular meeting to speak in favor of fluoridating drinking water, the first citizen to do so since a number of residents began speaking out against the practice .
Maragos, who chaired the Public Works and Water Committee during his tenure on the Board, presented the trustees with a packet of information from the American Dental Association, which claims that “the overwhelming weight of credible scientific evidence has consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe.”
The packet cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in championing fluoridation as “one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century,” states that even with fluoride toothpaste widely available areas without fluoridated water show 20-40 percent more tooth decay, and says that every dollar spent on fluoridation saves $38 in dental costs.
“It’s a very safe additive to the water supply,” Maragos said. “There [are] very good reasons for why we should fluoridate. It’s probably one of the best things we can do as a village to help safeguard our public.”
Critics of fluoridation, like the newly-founded Western Springs Residents Concerned About Fluoride, claim that ingesting fluoride causes a number of negative health effects ranging from thyroid and endocrine issues to damaging brain function.
But Village President Bill Rodeghier appeared to be squarely in Maragos’ camp. “I’d like to think that our decision would be guided by science, and what you’ve given us here seems to indicate that not to fluoridate water would be a denigration of our duties to look after public health and welfare,” Rodeghier said.
The Board indicated that much of the discussion regarding fluoridation would take place at Public Works and Water Committee meetings, which are open to the public.