By RYAN MCCARTHY
KU Statehouse Wire Service
TOPEKA — Lawmakers from the Health and Human Services committee heard lengthy testimony from opposing sides Wednesday about House Bill 2372 dealing with fluoride and its effect on water in Kansas.
If passed, the bill would require all Kansas municipalities that fluoridate their water to “notify the consumers of that treated water, that the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the I.Q. in children.”
Some of the language in the bill discussed that more research would need to be made on the exact effects of fluoride, but there’s a possibility for harm to important organs in the human body and the lower of IQ.
Michael Connett, a lawyer, led bill proponents by discussing the difficulties with fluoride in water.
“As an initial point, infants do not need to receive fluoride,” he said.
Dr. Yolanda Whyte, testified on the basis of protecting pediatric care and pregnancy dealing with fluoride and children. Connett went on to agree with these
“They started doing studies and low and behold the children getting more fluoride have lower IQs,” Connett said.
The two cited a study done by Anna Choi of Harvard University that said fluoride used in China and Iran affected IQ. No such research has been done in the United States.
“The problem with that approach is the absence of evidence does not equal the evidence of safety,” Connett said.
The committee members asked several questions of the proponents especially since there has not been conclusive fluoride testing in the United States.
“I hope you understand our concern about creating a bill or creating a requirement based off inconclusive science, but we’ve also made laws based off of inconclusive science,” Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, said.
Rep. Leslie Osterman, R-Wichita, asked how many other states are looking at an anti-fluoride bill.
Connett said that Kansas would be the first state to pass this kind of legislation.
After hearing from the proponents for the bill, a long list of opponents began their testimony.
One of the opponents was Dr. John Neuberger, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He represented the Kansas Public Health Association, which “promotes and improves the population health in Kansas.”
He said many parts of the Harvard study were not conclusive. He said Choi’s results were preliminary in nature and should not be used for setting drinking water policy in the United States.
Greg Hill testified on behalf of the Kansas Dental Association that every dollar invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental costs.
There were several other written and oral opposition testimonies from the Kansas Action for Children, Oral Health of Kansas, the American Dental Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The session closed without a vote from the committee.