TV forum on fluoridation taped; airs tonight on KPTS and KCTU

Lawyer Pamela Ammar and dentist Rob Dakin, left, face off against fluoride opponents Charles Hinshaw, a physician, and chiropractor Stephen L'Hommedieu. Moderator Pat Moyer of KPTS-TV is in the center.

In a KPTS-TV forum taped today, a dentist and lawyer argued that water fluoridation is a common sense measure to save kids from tooth decay, while a doctor and chiropractor argued that it’s ineffective and unsafe.

The TV station shied away from calling it a debate, but both sides came prepared for a spirited argument for their views.

“Is it ethical to medicate entire communities without the individual giving their consent or without an individual diagnosis?” said Stephen C. L’Hommedieu, the anti-fluoride chiropractor. He went on to characterize the type of fluoride used in drinking water as “a toxic industrial hazardous waste produced by the phosphate fertilizer industry.”

The pro-fluoride dentist, Rob Dakin, said he sees a substantial difference in the teeth of his patients who grew up in Wichita and those who grew up in communities with fluoridated water. He said fluoridation would alleviate a lot of pain and suffering.

“There is not a dentist in the world, including myself, who enjoys putting a filling in a 3-year-old child,” he said.

Dakin and his partner, attorney Pamela Ammar, argued that fluoridation, provided to three-fourths of Americans including residents of Maize and El Dorado, has been tested in more than 3,000 studies and found safe, effective and cost effective.

L’Hommedieu and his partner, Robert Hinshaw, a doctor with the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, argued the studies cited by proponents were mostly found inadequate by a study at the University of York, England.

Today’s forum marked the first time the two sides’ leaders shared a stage to argue the issue, which was brought to the ballot by petition.

On Nov. 6, Wichita city voters will decide whether to fluoridate the water for their city and several neighboring communities.

The program airs at 8.pm. today on KPTS and on KCTU-TV, a low-power channel that reaches some areas of Wichita where the KPTS signal is not strong.

The program will re-air twice on KPTS on Friday, at 2:30 and 8 p.m.