Another anti-fluoride group has formed in the area, joining one that has been circulating a petition to get the city to stop its six-decade-long fluoridation program.
About four months ago, Christine L. Davenport, who lives at 3221 Route 18, LaFargeville, organized Mothers Against Fluoride, a group of more than 20 mothers who communicate through social media and conduct research about the subject.
It was unclear Tuesday night how many of the mothers live in the city, but Ms. Davenport said most of them live in Jefferson County.
Ms. Davenport was among three people who spoke against fluoride at Tuesday nights Watertown City Council meeting. Another group of local residents formed last fall after hearing the city planned to purchase about $70,000 in new fluoride equipment.
The mother of two teens said she opposes mass fluoridation, adding the decision to use the tasteless, colorless additive should be made individually.
She is against fluoride because its dangerous, she said, blaming it for the health problems of her 16-year-old daughter, Connie, and 18-year-old son, Galadrian. Ms. Davenport said her daughter suffers from discoloration of her teeth, gastrointestinal problems and attention deficit disorder, while her son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Ms. Davenport said she became interested in the subject after suffering from fluoride poisoning after she swallowed several fluoride pills when she was about 3 years old.
I grabbed a handful off the counter of these sweet-tasting pills and had to have my stomach pumped out, she said.
With about 50 members, the original fluoride group has collected more than 500 signatures on a petition demanding the city stop putting the additive in its water supply. It meets weekly with about 10 core members.
Opponents said they believe the additive damages teeth and causes other health problems. They are trying to get other residents involved in their efforts.
On Tuesday night, organizer Troy M. Walts, 380 Brainard St., asked council members about the status of a committee the city was putting together to study the issue. He said he would like to be a panel member.
City Water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar is still gathering a group of experts to study the issue. He remains a fluoride proponent. The city began adding fluoride to its water in 1962.
The Jefferson-Lewis County Dental Society and individual dentists also have come out in support of fluoridation. They say fluoride fights decay and should remain in the water supply. They also contend reputable studies prove fluoridation is safe.
In other business, council members took no action on a request from New York Air Brake Co. to amend the companys 18-year-old tax-abatement package. The company made the request after discovering it was paying more than it would have paid in property taxes without the agreement.
Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said the city will consider the request after studying the issue further. A vote may come at the March 4 meeting.