Sunday, June 25, 2000

Fluoride debate in Ohio cities continues

By The Associated Press

        DELAWARE, Ohio — At least 25 cities in Ohio don't add fluoride to their water supplies even though the American Dental Association has recommended doing so for more than 40 years.

        In 1969, Ohio lawmakers mandated fluoridation of municipal water supplies unless a city voted not to do it, either by ordinance or referendum.

        Since then in cities like Delaware, located 20 miles north of Columbus, voters have chosen not to add fluoride, citing reasons ranging from cancer risks to communist plots.

        “A lot of my patients who've moved here don't realize it until I tell them,” Robert Green, a dentist and lifelong Delaware resident told The Columbus Dispatch for a story Saturday. “So we use fluoride rinses in the office, and most of the pediatricians in town prescribe some kind of fluoride supplement.”

        In 1983, the city council rejected a second bid for fluoridation. Next month, the council will hold the first of at least two public hearings before voting on the matter.

        “The response I've had from the community and from dentists and doctors in the area has been overwhelmingly supportive,” said city councilman David Godsil.

        Community fluoridation programs raise the level of fluoride in water. Most research on fluoride indicates that it helps harden tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.

        Biochemist John Yiammouyiannis, who believes fluoride is dangerous, was instrumental in engineering the 1983 defeat for fluoridation. He says he will testify again before City Council.

        Mr. Yiammouyiannis created the Safe Water Foundation in 1979 to oppose fluoridation. In his self-published book, “Fluoride: The Aging Factor,” the Delaware resident links fluoridation to cancer, osteoporosis and other diseases.

        Dr. John Stamm, a fluoride expert affiliated with the ADA, said the association has no reason to reverse its endorsement of fluoride. “(Fluoride's) safety record has been extremely well-documented,” he said.


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