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Water Fluoridation Debate Assignment

Each year we see yet another city rejecting water

fluoridation as a communist plot, covert industry disposal mechanism or unwanted mass medication orchestrated by a government with evil intent.  A couple of years ago Dallas, Texas was engulfed in a huge controversy around fluoridation. This provides the setting for our class debate.

Read the following content that describes the scenario from

"During the spring of 2014, a faction of fluoride foes began demanding the Dallas City Council flush it out of Dallas' water supply. And at the time, they had but a single true ally: Dallas City Council member Sheffie Kadane, who claimed his reasons were financial (it would save the city slightly more than a million dollars over three years) and scientific ("Have you read the disclaimer [on toothpaste] which says do not swallow, and if you do swallow this toothpaste go get your stomach pumped?")

But in recent months, the anti movement began attracting other supporters, among them a few less vocal council members and Howard "The Dirt Doctor" Garrett, who told the council Wednesday morning that his brother — "one of the best in the country" — vehemently disagrees with undoing the 1966 ordinance that put fluoride in Dallas' water. So too does Lawrence Wolinsky, the dean of of Dentistry, who told the council this morning that removing fluoride from the water would be a "tremendous disservice to the citizens of Dallas, especially children." The Dallas City Council agreed — well, most of the Dallas City Council, anyway. Only Kadane and Adam Medrano voted against the $1,060,800 contract with Mosaic Crop Nutrition to fluoridate Dallas' water supply for the next three years.

to kill the deal. He insisted that "you ingest that fluid, you take it into your belly, you eliminate it," so clearly fluoride in the water supply does nothing. "Unless you spread it on," he insisted, "it's not helping in any or form." Said Kadane, "Dental hygiene is the way to prevent cavities not by using ."

Only one other council member joined the discussion — Rick Callahan, who called the concerns over fluoride little more than "junk science."

"Why on earth would we want to turn back the clock and join the Flat Earth Society?" he said. Turns out, his colleagues had no intention to do any such thing.

heeded the warnings of Wolinsky and another dentist who warned against returning to the days of rotting teeth in children without access to proper dental care. Said Wolinsky, yes, too much fluoride in the water supply is a bad thing. But Dallas residents are getting "optimum levels." Said the doctor, yes, saving a million dollars would be great. "But the cost to our youngest citizens would be higher."

Said one speaker to the council this morning, "Don't just listen to dentists

  they're dentists."












Water Fluoridation Debate Preparation


Read the scenario about anti-fluoridation arguments in Dallas, TX (above)


Read the required readings and folder containing fluoridation articles posted on Canvas, and look on the internet and in journals for current studies on the effects of fluoride.

Post at least 5 reasons for and 5 reasons against community water fluoridation on Canvas by class time on October 17.

Bring a copy of your pro/con class for use in the debate.


Thursday, October 17th

Pro/anti-fluoridation positions will be assigned in class.  You must be ready to debate either position regardless of your personal convictions.


Preparation will be provided for teams to share arguments.

         Think about how you will convince the City Council to retain water fluoridation. Anticipate what the opposite position will say, and prepare to refute their claims.


Debate format:

         3 minutes pro fluoridation statement from a spokesperson

         3 anti fluoridation statement from a spokesperson

         Repeat 1 minute format for rebuttals.


We will vote on retaining or discontinuing fluoridation at the end of class.





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