Fluoride, the substance that keeps tooth decay away in less than 1 part per million in city water, could be squeezed out of the treated water supply because it corrodes pipes, city water utilities director Hani Tohme told City Council members.

A part per million is the same as a milligram in a liter or about three-tenths of an ounce in a quart. The concentration of fluoride in the water at a faucet in a city water customer’s home is .065 parts per million, Tohme said.

In a couple of weeks, Tohme said he would bring more data for council to discuss.

The problem, he said, is the higher concentration of fluoride where it is added to the surface water supply at the city’s treatment plant on Pine Street.

Dr. Alan Coleman, a dentist and the Ward I council member, said fluoride has proven safe and reliable over decades in the prevention of tooth decay.

Ward II councilman Michael D. Getz thanked Tohme for researching the issue and said many of his constituents have expressed concern about fluoride.

Coleman said he would make available research from the Texas Dental Association about the effect of fluoride on public health.