BUCYRUS – The concentration of fluoride in Bucyrus water is now a topic on the minds of the city’s leaders.
Councilman Dan Wirebaugh brought up the matter Tuesday during the city’s regular council meeting. He said he’s learned that fluoride could potentially have negative health effects that outweigh the benefits to residents’ teeth. Other members of council agreed the topic should be considered by the city’s Health and Safety Committee.
But on Thursday, when the matter was scheduled to be discussed, the committee could make no decisions for lack of a quorum. Council President Garnet “Sis” Love said it could still be discussed, but only in an informational manner.
From a packet prepared by Council Clerk Todd Hill, council members learned that an Ohio law passed in 1969 actually requires cities of more than 5,000 to add fluoride to their water at a level of at least 0.7 parts per million. To become exempt from that law, cities needed to pass local ordinances by 1970. Only 22 cities statewide are not required to add fluoride to their water, including Crestline, Galion, Mansfield and Mount Vernon.
Love said its possible residents of those cities are still getting ample amounts of fluoride.
“There are towns where their natural source of water has fluoride, and so they don’t have to add any,” Love said.
Councilman Steve Pifer pointed out that infants and toddlers aren’t supposed to ingest fluoride because of its toxic effects.
“If they get toothpaste and start sucking on it like a bottle, you’re supposed to call poison control,” Pifer said. “If it’s not good for them, I can’t see it being all that good for us.”
Council members do have the authority to change the amount of fluoride added to the water. They talked about Columbus’ decision a few years ago to decrease the amount of fluoride in its municipal supply from 1.0 part per million to just 0.9 parts per million, a decision that saved that city about $77,000 annually.
Love said she wasn’t even sure if the city’s new water treatment plant was designed for a specific level of fluoride. She said council members needed to wait and gather a little more information before discussing the topic any further. Everyone agreed.