BOYNE CITY — A group of Boyne City residents opposed to an upcoming ballot initiative to resume adding fluoride to the city's water system will host a forum on the topic from 3-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Boyne District Library Community Room. The group calling itself Citizens Against Forced Medication is calling the event a debate in which it will use Paul Connett to represent the anti-fluoridation position.
According to a release from the group, Connett, who lives in Birmingham, N.Y., is the director for the Fluoride Action Network, has a doctorate in chemistry and is a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University in New York and has co-authored a book opposing fluoridating drinking water.
In its release, the anti-fluoride group challenges proponents of fluoridation to "present any expert on water fluoridation they choose to debate the pro-fluoridation position."
However, Carl VanDomelen, one of the founders of Citizens United for Dental Health, said that organization will not be participating in the debate.
Citizen's United for Dental Health is the group which organized a petition drive that resulted in the question of whether or not the city's water supply being placed on the Tuesday, Nov. 4 General Election ballot.
The city's water supply, which had been fluoridated since a similar ballot question approved the practice in 1973 until May when the commission voted 3-2 to discontinue the practice citing concerns about health effects.
The commission made the decision against the strong recommendation of a host of medical and dental professionals, who said the fluoridation is safe and important for helping prevent dental cavities — especially in children.
In a release responding to the anti-flouridation group's challenge, VanDomelen explained why his group would not participate in the debate:
"Mr. Connett’s claims about fluoridated water have been repeatedly disproven as wildly wrong and entirely false by medical doctors and literally hundreds of peer reviewed medical studies and research papers published by some of the world’s leading medical journals for decades," VanDomelen wrote.
"He has a right to his opinion, but his opinion has been consistently proven wrong by 60 years of published medical studies and research. That fluoridated water systems are entirely safe and provide significant public health benefits to children and adults is now a scientific fact that is beyond any level of debate."
"We choose not to appear with Mr. Connett in any public or media setting because to do so would give him and his discredited and disproven message a level of respect and credibility he does not deserve."
"We urge the citizens and voters of Boyne City to ignore this charlatan, and we urge the news media to bury or, better yet, totally ignore him.