Several local dental professionals, residents and a representative from the health department showed their support for water fluoridation at the Feb. 18 Marine City Commission meeting.
St. Clair County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Annette Mercatante named fluoride as “one of the most important health components in the community.”
Mercatante said during her extensive research, she found “no real scientific controversy” with fluoride administered in the proper quantities.
Resident Kim Turner said she was opposed to fluoridating city water, pointing out the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning on toothpaste to keep it out of reach of children. Turner said she has avoided fluoride and has had no problems with tooth decay.
Mayor Bob Lepley presented a list of more than 100 national and international organizations that recognize fluoride as a health benefit in preventing tooth decay. Lepley said his research led him to take a pro-fluoride position. He made a motion to take steps aimed at getting another fluoridation unit for the water plant to resume the practice of treating city water.
Commissioner Jim Turner asked that the issue be tabled until the city could get more feedback from residents, but did not receive support. The vote was 5-1 for fluoridation, with Turner the dissenting vote.
Finding the money for new equipment is the next challenge before city officials.
According to Tetra Tech, the city’s water plant operators, the estimated cost is $20,000. Marine City Manager John Gabor recommended the city apply for funding through a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health.
“Replacement costs of this equipment are unfunded at this point and would require a subsidy for the general fund,” stated Gabor in his report. “If successful in obtaining the grant, the equipment would have to be installed between June 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2010.”
The grant application period begins March 1, the deadline for Marine City to file a letter of intent.