July 3, 2012
WICHITA, Kansas -- A familiar debate surrounding the fluoridation of Wichita water is back. Those for and against are raising awareness of the issue and want you to know more about your drinking water.
Nearly 500 medical professionals have joined together to raise awareness of what they see as benefits and the need for optimal level fluoride in Wichita's drinking water. "We believe the CDC says this is good for our community and we stand by the sound scientific research and feel it would be beneficial to all our citizens in the Wichita area," advocates Dr. Sara Meng, a dentist in Wichita.
"Everything else we put in our water is treated water to make the water safer. Putting fluoride in the water doesn't do that," says Michael Hicks, who is the executive director of Wichitans for Pure Water, a group opposed to fluoridation.
"Healthy diet and proper dental hygiene are the keys to preventing cavities in children and keeping this community safe," says Hicks. Medical professionals agree, but say that adding fluoridated water to that equation would save Kansans money.
"For example Kansas has about 58 percent of children experience dental decay by the third grade. In Sedgwick County that rate is around 71 percent and I believe we can do better by adding fluoride to strengthen their teeth," says Dr. Meng.
"It is a physical poison to the body and we need to stop it from being in our water," says Hicks.
To which Dr. Meng responded, "It is regulated by the EPA, standard 60 to regulate things that are added to the water so it is determined to be safe, therefore we are protected just as the EPA regulates anything else to protect our water."
Wichita is the fourth largest city that does not fluoridate its water. Wichitans for Healthy Teeth hopes to announce their plans to bring fluoridation to Wichita later this month. Nothing official has been proposed just yet, both groups are raising awareness of the issue.