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Anti-fluoridation group seeks debate opponent

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Sep. 17, 2012, at 5:38 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at 9:38 a.m.

An anti-fluoridation group said Monday that it’s planning to be part of a televised debate about fluoride on public television in October and is looking for two people to debate on the pro-fluoridation side.

The group, Pure Water for Wichita, challenged the pro-fluoridation group Wichitans for Healthy Teeth to a televised debate in August. Don Landis, speaking for Pure Water for Wichita, said Monday that the groups had been exchanging e-mails, but Wichitans for Healthy Teeth did not firm up the details in a timely enough manner. He then asked for people from the community to apply to be part of the debate instead.

Wichitans for Healthy Teeth issued a statement in response saying that, in its last e-mail with Pure Water, “we were finalizing negotiations.

“It is disingenuous to claim that we are avoiding a debate when in fact, we began communicating about a public discussion with Pure Water for Wichita on August 23 and have responded multiple times to a representative of the group,” the statement said. “Several days have gone by without a reply from them.”

Michele Gors, president and CEO of KPTS, Ch. 8, said details will have to be completed in the next couple of weeks for the debate to be televised as scheduled from 8 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18.

The statement from Wichitans for Healthy Teeth said that it had accepted an invitation for a public forum to be moderated by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 23. Landis said his group hadn’t heard about it but would attend if asked.

Landis asked Wichita residents interested in debating on the pro-fluoridation side on KPTS to send an e-mail to purewaterwichita@gmail.com by 5 p.m. Friday with a brief description of why they should be considered. He said that two people would be selected by a disinterested third party to debate two people who oppose fluoridation. He said he would reveal the identities of the two fluoridation opponents later.

Gors said she hoped that there would be a debate on what seems to be a complicated issue.

“I think it would be good for the community to hear both sides and get some of their questions answered,” she said.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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