Massena debates fluoride in village’s drinking water

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:46 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Get a cup of water from the faucet or a sip from the fountain in Massena and you’re drinking water that has fluoride in it.

Last Tuesday, at a village board meeting, a debate broke out over whether the water should continue to have fluoride added to it - something that has been done in the village since the 1980s.

Massena’s mayor thinks it’s helpful.

“People talk about going to the dentist. Well, going to the dentist in a lot of these poor communities is a luxury. It’s not a right and by having fluoridation, it helps. It does help with the building of strong teeth,” said Mayor Greg Paquin.

Village Trustee Ken McGowan asks how much fluoride is too much?

“I don’t know why we do it anymore. The big issue for me is, the FDA considers it a medication. Right? Why are we putting a medication - the only product that’s in the water as a medication is fluoride? Everything else is there to clean the water. Fluoride is a medication, so what is the dosage someone should be taking? You know, you really can’t regulate it,” said McGowan.

The village is holding off on buying its next order of the chemical it adds to the water. It costs $20,000.

“Realistically, 20 grand isn’t a lot of money but I think the village could use 20 grand for a lot of things, you know. Maybe we could help employ a paramedic, we could help add those funds to the PD to help educate the children, or maybe we could put it into infrastructure,” said McGowan.

As for Paquin, he stands firm on keeping fluoride.

“If we can do anything to help the children and those that are poor in the community, this is an easy step to do,” he said.

Lawmakers will get a presentation from the state Department of Health about the plusses and minuses of using fluoride in drinking water.