Potsdam seeking more info before deciding on fluoridation of village water
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 6:09 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM – The Village of Potsdam will gather more information and hold an official hearing before it decides to adopt any new water fluoridation policy for village water.

The mayor and trustees want to settle the issue of fluoridation of village water – a popular tooth decay prevention measure in the U.S. for decades – after consulting with local and state health and legal authorities on its effectiveness, safety and the requirements of New York law.

The issue arose again in Potsdam last year when the village’s fluoridation equipment showed signs of age, bringing forward the need to repair or replace it if the village decided to continue adding fluoride to its water, as it has done for decades.

Officials of village government have said that if the cost of fixing the village's fluoridation equipment is too high, the village might just abandon fluoridating the water.

That promoted some debate on the perennial and controversial topic of whether fluoridation is a good thing or not, and what the desire of the community would be to continue the practice of adding fluoride to municipal water.

Those in favor of fluoridation and against have been making their views known since the issue came up last July. The debate began again in the village, at meetings in the Civic Center and on letters pages of North Country This Week and NorthCountryNow.com.

The discussion on how effective fluoride is when it is put in a community’s water supply to stem tooth decay, and how detrimental it might be to health otherwise, is based on conflicting evidence and opinion of its effectiveness and potential danger from online sources and more formal published reports going back decades.

The village has sought fresh opinions from the village attorney and state authorities on current knowledge and law, and have so far not received clear and authoritative enough information on the alternatives available to the village, they agreed Monday night.

Before any decision on what to do with the 35-year-old equipment is made, the village will seek more opinion from the state Health Department and state legal authorities on the existing rules.

And the Board of Trustees will hold a hearing on the issue before they adopt a policy.

The consensus of the trustees during a discussion at their meeting Monday night was that the guidance they have received so far is not clear enough.

“There are a lot in favor, and a lot against,” said Mayor Ron Tischler at the meeting. “It’s a ‘push-me-pull-you’ situation,” he said.