A St. Peters health advisory committee recommended earlier this month that the city continue to add fluoride to drinking water from city wells to help lessen tooth decay.
The city’s committee on health and wellness, an 11-member citizen advisory panel, advised the city not to change its policy on fluoridation to promote public health.
Committee Chairman Dan Rakers told the city’s Board of Aldermen at its Feb. 13 work session that the committee recommends no changes in the amount of fluoride the city adds. However, Rakers said the committee does recommend that the city include in its annual water quality report concerns by the Centers for Disease Control and American Dental Association that parents with infants using baby formula should not use fluoridated water exclusively.
A CDC report last year stated that mixing powdered or liquid formula with fluoridated water may increase a child’s chances of developing faint white marks on teeth, a form of dental fluorosis.
Rakers said the committee also recommends that the city continue monitoring health advisories on the long-term impact of fluoride use in water.
The committee began examining fluoridation last year amid debate over its use. Public health officials say the use of fluoridated water is safe. But critics have been concerned about the long-term health impacts of and ethical questions surrounding the chemical’s use.
Much of the city’s water, about 40 percent, comes from the city of St. Louis drinking water plant on the Missouri River, where fluoride is added. About 8 percent of the city is served by the Missouri American Water Company, which also adds fluoride.
O’Fallon quit adding additional fluoride to its water in 2010 but most of the rest of the St. Louis region, including Illinois, uses fluoridated water.
Rakers said fluoride is naturally occurring at levels of about 0.5 to 0.6 milligrams per liter. The city adds fluoride at a cost of about $20,000 annually to bring the level up to 0.7 milligrams, which is the level recommended by the federal government.
The board took no action at the meeting, other than to thank the committee for its work.