Potsdam village might stop fluoridating water, might not; study sought
By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM -- The village may consider discontinuing fluoridation of the water supply, in part depending on the results of a study they hope to conduct.
The village equipment used to add the fluoride – a popular tooth decay prevention measure in the U.S. for decades – is old and might need repair or replacement soon, according to Village Administrator Greg Thompson.“We need to start thinking about that,” Thompson said.
Before a decision to fix the 35-year-old equipment is made, the village wants to conduct a study of its condition. They are applying to the state Department of Health for a grant to pay engineers to “rate the equipment’s condition,” Thompson said.
Also in question is the desire of the community to continue the sometimes-controversial practice of adding fluoride to municipal water.
“Some municipalities have discontinued it, some have continued,” the administrator said.
Over the years, a movement has formed nationwide to stop the practice with varying numbers of adherents and degrees of success. They claim that adding the chemical is not worth the possible negative health effects.
Perhaps the most prominent proponent of the local anti-fluoride effort is Dr. Paul Connett, whose authority is bolstered by his experience teaching chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University for 23 years.
Since leaving SLU, he has been executive director of the Fluoride Action Network and has written extensively on the topic, including as author of “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation.” That work has been called an unreliable source, perhaps most notably by Terence W. Cuttress, an Australian academic who has challenged Connett's "50 Reasons" on grounds that it is not a thorough review of research, as Connett claims, but a carefully selected compendium of criticism of fluoridation.
Fluoridation continues to be endorsed by many leading health organizations, including the American Dental Association and the World Health Organization.
Thompson, while mindful of the controversy, does not intend to participate in the debate at this time, if ever, but wants to see the report on the Potsdam unit first.