The Fluoride Wars have finally come to St. Croix Falls and nowhere have the opinions been more decisive, or the residents more steadfast.

The council chambers was growing crowded as between 20-30 interested parties were there to voice their opinions on the city’s fluoridation of the water supply.

Originally, the fluoride was introduced in 1945 to prevent tooth decay, a “chronic disease” whose burden falls upon children and the poor.

Casey Borchert, a biochemical/medical engineer who has lived in St. Croix Falls with his family for the last six years was the first to speak for the side that wanted to see the end of fluoridation.

“What is being added to the water supply is not pharmaceutical grade fluoride,” Borchert noted. “It is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry and can contain elevated levels of arsenic.”

Borchert went on to note that a Harvard Study indicated that fluoridated water can affect the cognitive development of children and can cause such health problems/diseases as arthritis, cancer, bone cancer, and neurological impacts.

“By adding fluoride to the water, we are being drugged daily against our will,” observed Borchert. “Balsam Lake got rid of it a week ago, Grantsburg a year ago. We hope that the city decides to go along with them as well as 90 percent of Europe.”

The next to speak on the matter was Dr. Joy Zasadany of St. Croix Chiropractic and Wellness, a health provider located in St. Croix Falls.

“Fifty years ago this may have been a good idea,” Zasadany noted. “Just like adding lead to paint was. It could be we look back on this and find it absurd on both counts.

Zasadany cited skeletal fluorosis as an issue and noted that fluoride is a known neurotoxin than can inhibit hormones, such as testosterone in men, affect the [pineal] gland and interfere with the thyroid.

Zasadany noted that she has purchased a reverse osmosis machine to get rid of the fluoride that the city is putting in.

The ongoing theme of most of those in attendance was the fact that they didn’t have a choice of what they were putting into their body, and most of them considered fluoride a drug as much as a chemical.

Steven McCormick, DDS, who practices in St. Croix Falls, was the lone voice at the meeting stating that fluoridation of the city’s water should continue.

McCormick noted that the Centers for Disease Control considers the fluoridation of water to be among the top 10 achievements/benefits in public health in the 20th Century.

“Fluorosis doesnt happen to adults,” stated McCormick. When I first started practicing here I can’t tell you the number of pulpotomies, a sort of youth root canal, that I performed. Two years later after the water had been fluoridated I do 10 percent of what I used to do.”

McCormick went on to note that there are a number of organizations who still wholly back the fluoridation of water, including the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Academy of Sciences [incorrect] and the National Research Council [incorrect], just to name a few.

McCormick also explained that [fluorosis] is the mottling of enamel and a cosmetic issue.

“You want a health issue in Polk County?” McCormick asked. “Try the amount sex abuse in northern Polk County.”

McCormick went on to note that he had a relative that worked in Child Protective Services and that the amount of sex abuse cases was tragic.

“This is just silly,” observed McCormick. “(Fluoridation) is economical and beneficial. To try and end it is just obscene and not sane.

“There is a 72 page brochure on fluoridation I can give you. Of course if you go on the Internet and search on the subject of fluoridation the first 50 hits are all negative.

Former Alderwoman Deb Kravig, who served on the council in 2009, also spoke on the matter.

“The [ubiquitousness] of fluoride is so much more than in the past that it is too much,” Kravig observed. “And we’re using the public water supply. [Fluorosis] is a side effect, whether it is cosmetic or not.

“Four years ago it was decided that infants shouldn’t be exposed to any fluoride so a notice went out once that told mothers who were using formulas not to use city water.

“From a bio-chemical point of view, a public health point of view, we owe it (the elimination of fluoridation) to our infants and adolescents, and to those that just plain don’t want it.”

According to the city’s public works/water department supervisor, Mike Bryant, the city has been operating at the EPA’s formerly recommended level of 1.11 mg/L. As of Jan. 2, the State of Wisconsin adopted the lower recommended level of .70, which the city would next abide by.

“We do a 1-10 mixture in the low capacity wells and for five years in a row we have been hitting all the numbers that the DNR has been putting at us with calculated dosages,” noted Bryant. “Also it should be noted that in all wells around here fluoride is naturally occurring at .04.”

It costs the City of St. Croix Falls approximately $2,800 a year, not including labor to fluoridate the water, and the water is tested seven days a week by at least two different labs.

“There are positives to both sides of the debate,” observed City Administrator Joel Peck.

“The benefit being decreased tooth decay,” observed Alderman Randy Korb.

“There are also indirect benefits from decreased tooth decay, observed Mayor Brian Blesi.

“This reminds me of the list of warnings that you get with a prescription,” observed Alderwoman Loreen Clayton-Morrell. “After you read the list of possible side effects, it makes you wonder if you really want to take it.”

“I think it would be wise not to get rid of everything,” observed Alderwoman Lori Erickson. “I believe that there is some benefit to it. Why not do it at the new level of .70, a smaller amount rather than none.”

“Even the ADA agrees that infants up to six months shouldn’t have any exposure to fluoride,” said Korb. “And it doesn;t sound like the city has practiced due diligence in keeping new mothers informed.”

Clayton-Morrell was in favor of eliminating fluoridation immediately as was Korb, noting the sooner the better.

Since the agenda listed the consideration of fluoridation, the council ordered the city staff to cease and desist with fluoridation and send notifications to the DNR/Public Health and any other necessary entities to alert them of the change.

Since fluoridation was established by ordinance, it will be placed on the next agenda to be formally changed.