Arguments from a group of residents calling for the removal of fluoride from Iowa City’s water supply did not have enough teeth to sway the Iowa City Council.
At its Monday work session, the council discussed the city’s longstanding practice of water fluoridation after several residents, citing health and cost concerns, asked the council to reconsider the practice at a meeting earlier this year.
After hearing from water superintendent Ed Moreno, who was backed in his defense of fluoridation by local and national public health officials, the council opted to wave the issue.
“I don’t see any consistent, compelling reasons to change,” council member Mike Wright said.
Like many municipalities, Iowa City has been adding fluoride as a means of preventing tooth decay to its water since the 1950s.
Moreno said his department, which adds fluoride at a ratio of 1 part per million, follows regulatory guidelines set by Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Public Health.
University of Iowa student government liaison Jeff Shipley, who participates in city council work sessions, argued against fluoridation, saying the practice amounts to the city medicating the community without its consent.
“How can we be so confident when we can prescribe this treatment to people we’ve never met and whose medical backgrounds we’ve never analyzed?” Shipley said.
Council member Regenia Bailey said the practice is for the public good and that residents who are opposed to fluoridation have the option of purchasing bottled water.
Council member Susan Mims said she trusted the experts from the Iowa Department of Public Health and Johnson County Public Health who reaffirmed the benefits of fluoridation in memos to the council.
“I’m not seeing enough significant data that says there is harm,” Mims said.