Medical and dental professionals urge Potsdam to continue fluoridating water; vote could be Monday
Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 8:41 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM -- The village Board of Trustees has heard impassioned arguments and orchestrated presentations from both sides in the fluoridation debate leading up to a vote on it Sept. 17.

They have heard from dozens of citizens, both locals and people from afar. Dueling professionals, a dentist from Florida who leads a group in favor of fluoridation and a former chemist from St. Lawrence University whose life now revolves around opposition, have spoken in Potsdam in the last several weeks.

The effort organized by local medical and dental professionals to persuade board members to continue has been impressive.

Their first salvo came on July 26 when internal medicine and primary care physician Dr. Andrew Williams, in his capacity as president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Health and with the endorsement of the county Public Health Department, wrote that the Board of Health “strongly urges the Village of Potsdam to continue fluoridation of water in the village. He calls fluoridation “a well-established, safe measure to improve the oral health and general health of children and adults in the community” that would continue to be of benefit.

At the next village board meeting Aug. 20, dozens of people in blue t-shirts saying “I (Heart) Fluoride” arrived in a well-organized effort to show their approval of fluoridation. Many of them of them were local medical and dental practitioners who wanted to testify to their interpretations of data and share their own observations. They were doctors, dentists, oral surgeons and other medical professionals who spoke about the proven worth of fluoridation and the detrimental effects of abandoning such programs.

If trustees take into consideration the apparent strength of feeling, on both sides, about the issue in the community, they will be hard pressed to decide.

If the numbers of people expressing opinions on each side at the recent board meetings are the measure of that sentiment, the edge goes to those in favor of water fluoridation.