Village of Potsdam approves controversial fluoridation of municipal water by 4-1 vote
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 5:47 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM – Fluoridation of village municipal water has been approved following another round of statements on both sides of the issue and a 4 to 1 vote in favor by the trustees and mayor.

Trustee Steve Warr voted no. “I’m concerned about the way it’s being done,” with the “targeting” approach failing to be effective enough.

Echoing some of the speakers at Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, who said in spite of fluoridation there was still an “epidemic” of poor dental health in the community, Warr said, “I don’t doubt that it helps, but if we still have an epidemic, we’re not doing it well.”

The three other trustees and Mayor Ron Tischler decided to “defer to the professionals,” as trustee Maggie McKenna put it, referring to the doctors and other medical practitioners who once again turned out in numbers Monday to speak for continuation of a program they believe in.

Those speakers once again spoke of their knowledge of the research on the matter showing clear effectiveness and safety of fluoridation, and the dangers of abandoning a program that works to help prevent not only cavities but the more serious follow-on conditions they can lead to, such as heart and brain infections, which can be fatal.

Trustee Abby Lee said she agreed with Warr that “more is needed” with help from county and regional resources, but that she voted to go with “what the majority of taxpayers want.”

Trustee Cindy Goliber said her personal experience, living in places with and without fluoride in the water and the worse results she had without fluoride, “leads me to believe in it.”

Mayor Tischler said after the several long public sessions with speakers for and against fluoridating the water and from others with different ideas, and being “inundated with letters and emails” in recent months, he was voting for fluoridation because “it’s probably the best thing for the majority of the people in the village.”

That left the opponents unsatisfied that the board had not been persuaded by the examples of research they believe clearly show the danger of fluoridation.

Dean Laubscher, one of the leading local opponents of fluoridation, said last night’s board vote was not decisive, and that he would work toward staging a referendum on the issue.