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Cortland City Leaders Say No to Fluoride Grant

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The debate over the positive health effects and potential negative impacts of fluoride returned to Cortland City Hall this week. City leaders were asked to apply for a grant to study putting fluoride in the public water supply.

Several residents spoke out against adding fluoride to the Cortland Water supply with many speakers saying the move amounts to medicating the public without consent.

The issue came up as the result of a newly formed group that is working to improve the overall dental health in the Cortland Community.

Cavity Free Cortland is looking to address the high rates of cavities in local kids. Just over 50% of all third graders in Cortland County have experienced tooth decay.

The City Council was asked to apply for a grant that would provide up to $50 thousand dollars to study water fluoridation.

Mike Ryan, director of environmental health at the Cortland County Health Department, said the state grant would allow the city to study the technical feasibility of adding fluoride to its water supply.

Initially, the council agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter, but upon further consideration backed away from the idea completely.

The city has grappled with the issue before. Back in 2003 lawmakers voted to dissolve the city water board after the group voted to incorporate fluoridation.

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