By Benjamin Gohs
A group calling itself “Citizens Against Forced Medication” has scheduled a public debate featuring a prominent anti-fluoride advocate for several weeks prior to the general election, when the issue of whether to resume the fluoridation of Boyne City’s municipal water supply will be decided by voters.
“(CAFM) do hereby publicly challenge the pro-fluoridation lobby to an open public debate in the arena of public scrutiny to critically examine the public health consequences of the forced medication practice known as water fluoridation,” the group stated in a press release last week.
Open to the general public, the debate is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 11, at the Boyne District Library’s community room.
The debate will be broadcast live by WMKT, 102.3 FM radio host Greg Marshall.
“Pro-fluoridation proponents are invited to present any expert on water fluoridation they choose to debate the pro-fluoridation position,” States CAFM.
Citizens United For Dental Health, the group which petitioned to get the fluoridation issue on the November ballot, say they will not provide an expert for the debate.
“We feel that many of Dr. Connett’s arguments are often misleading and irrelevant,” wrote the group’s spokesman Carl VanDomelen in a Sept. 1 response to questions from the Boyne City Gazette. “For instance, Dr. Connett refers to fluoride as a medicine, which it is not. The FDA regulates fluoride in pill form as a drug, but fluoridated water is not within its jurisdiction (the EPA is the regulatory agency responsible for water fluoridation). Fluoride is added to water for preventive purposes, not treatment. Its status is similar to that of folic acid, which must be added to (bread) flour in order to reduce the incidence of birth defects.”
VanDomelen further stated, “Other water chemicals (chlorine) are added to improve taste or kill germs. The fact that fluoride serves another purpose—reducing dental decay—doesn’t matter. Fluoride is found naturally in most water supplies, including Boyne City. Fluoridation adjusts the concentration so that it is high enough to reduce dental decay. The real question is whether adjusting the concentration serves a valuable purpose without posing any safety risk. The answer is ‘yes’.”
Paul Connett Ph.D. will present the case against fluoride.
Connett is director of the Fluoride Action Network, and, according to CAFM, he has given more than 2,000 presentations in 49 states and 52 countries on the issue of waste management in addition to holding a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College.
Connett is a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University who began researching water fluoridation in 1996.
He is the author of several books including co-authoring “The Case Against Fluoride, How Hazardous Waste Ended up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There.”
VanDomelen said his group supports sound medical opinions and studies, citing newspaper articles that referred to Connett’s arguments as conjecture and anecdotal.
“For these reasons we will continue to support ‘peer-reviewed scientific findings’ associated with fluoridation, shed light on misleading statements and not participate in the debate challenge,” he stated.
The debate format will be as follows, starting with the pro-fluoride position:
Each speaker will deliver a 15 minute power point presentation. Then, each speaker will give a seven-minute speech. Then, each speaker will have five minutes for questions and answers. Then, each speaker will deliver a four- minute speech.
Then, each speaker will have five minutes for questions and answers. Finally, each speaker will give a five-minute summation. Questions will then be taken from the audience.
Potential debaters and those looking for more information may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.