Fluoride opponents air concerns at forum

08/08/2012 5:00 AM

08/05/2014 8:35 PM

Wichita’s past decisions not to fluoridate the water supply have been validated by recent decisions by cities such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque to stop fluoridating theirs, a Wichita chiropractor said Wednesday at a meeting sponsored by fluoridation opponents.

“It’s ironic that Wichita is being pressured to fluoridate the water when more and more cities are removing it,” Stephen L’Hommedieu said to a group of about 50 people at VFW Post 6957 in Haysville. The meeting was sponsored by the group Fluoride Free Kansas, which opposes fluoridating public water supplies.

“There are safer and more effective ways of preventing tooth decay,” he said.

A group called Wichitans for Healthy Teeth last week presented more than 11,000 signatures in favor of fluoridating Wichita’s water to the city clerk. The group, which includes dental practitioners, hopes to get the City Council to take up the issue.

L’Hommedieu said that there are different types of fluoride, and the fluoride that naturally occurs in water is calcium fluoride, and it is safe. But the types of fluoride that are added to water are synthetic chemicals that include industrial waste products, he said.

As an additive to water, fluoride sidesteps the evaluation that a doctor would conduct with a patient about taking a medication, including the concentration and the dose, said another chiropractor, Jacob Holdren.

How much fluoride a person takes in with treated drinking water depends on how much he drinks, he said. Too much fluoride can cause problems including a decrease in IQ, behavioral changes in children, digestive problems and infertility, Holdren said. Too much fluoride also causes fluorosis, a condition that damages tooth enamel, several people at the meeting pointed out.

Blake Branson of Bel Aire asked whether there was an average intake of water upon which an acceptable level of fluoride was based. He said that because of a medical condition, he sometimes drinks 200 to 300 ounces of water a day.

The amount of fluoride that is deemed prudent keeps changing, L’Hommedieu said. The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a reduction in the recommended optimal level in drinking water from a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter to 0.7 milligrams.

John Axtell of Wichita said his main concern about fluoridation was the violation of people’s freedom to decide whether to ingest it. And “personal responsibility is the corollary of freedom,” he said. “Personal responsibility works. Taking care of myself works.”

“We wish to have a debate,” said Don Landis of Fluoride Free Kansas told the group. “We want people to know the facts. The answer is citizens one-on-one” asking what is going on with the push for the fluoridation of water and why.

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