HAMPTON — After a lengthy debate, the Hampton City Council decided not to add fluoride to the city’s water supply.
By a vote of 4-2 Tuesday, the council decided to repeal a 1975 ordinance which called for fluoridation.
In November, Hampton’s four dentists asked the council to resume filtering and fluoridating the city’s water.
Speaking on behalf of the dentists, Dr. Eric Wagner told the council his group had three requests.
They wanted all water filtered through the city’s $2.2 million water plant; they wanted the fluoride content adjusted to the therapeutic level of 1 to 1.2 parts per million and they want better communication.
The City Services Committee reviewed the request and recommended that since the city water supply meets state standards, additional fluoridation was not necessary.
The three-person committee recommended the council repeal the city’s 1975 ordinance.
Council members Craig Ekhardt, Steve Harms, Pat Palmer and Barry Lamos voted in favor of the repeal.
Bill Hodge and Karen Schmidt voted against the change.
The fluoride question surfaced earlier this year, according to Dr. Paul Sensor, another Hampton dentist.
A $2.2 million water plant was constructed in 1993. Fluoride was added to the water supply until 1999.
Sensor said that some of the equipment used to add the fluoride was torn out and that the city had started to use water from a well that was not run through the filter system at the plant.
Wagner, who said he was speaking as an advocate for his patients, said the lack of communication on the subject was frustrating.
But not everyone agreed.
Jerre Grefe, a resident who also is a registered nurse, asked the council not to add the chemical.
“Fluoride in combination with other chemicals can cause cancer,” said Grefe. “I believe the many chemicals in our lives play a major role” in the spread of cancer and other diseases.
The American Dental Association says that “Community water flouridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.” It has been endorsed by the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization.
The city recently received a report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources stating that there were no problems with the city’s handling of water.