The Greenville City Council may decide to reverse course on adding fluoride back into the local water supply, after several people have told the council Tuesday they were unhappy about the recent decision to resume the practice.
A split council voted two weeks ago to resume adding fluoride, based on the recommendation of a local dentist, after having suspended the practice for three years.
Judy Woods was one of those who spoke up at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, claiming there are several studies which recommend against it.
“When you put it in the city water, there is no way to control the dosage,” she said, warning that a person who drinks eight glasses of water a day will receive twice as much as a person who drinks four glasses. She also warned that long term exposure is also harmful.
“It stays in the bones and it can lead to problems there,” she said.
At the Oct. 11 meeting, Dr. Jeffrey Nelson, D.D.S. said there was no scientific evidence which indicated there was any harm to the public by the move, which would help lead to healthier teeth for the city’s population, whereas there is 70 years of studies available, “that show nothing but positive benefits.”
But Kory Watkins said fluoride can be considered as a medication.
“You can’t control the dosage that way,” Watkins said, also referring to medical studies which were opposed to the idea. Watkins also believes the addition of fluoride to the water supply is unconstitutional.
“It goes against the consent of a person you are forcing to drink this medication,” he said.
The City of Greenville ceased fluoridation of its drinking water in Sept. 2013, due to the effort causing too much wear and tear on equipment. Director of Public Works John Wright has said the current fluoride concentration found naturally in the city’s raw water supply averages one-third to one-half of the fluoride level recommended by the EPA.
Wright said the addition of fluoride to the city’s treated drinking water would raise the natural concentration of about .3 parts per million (ppm) up to the recommended level of 0.7 ppm, with the initial estimated $50,000 in expenses covered in the city budget.
Wright said he had heard that extremely high concentrations of fluoride in the water supply, several times the amount to be added, might result in hurting the teeth of baby’s or making bones brittle.
“But we are way away from that,” Wright said on Oct. 11
However Nancy Estrada said Tuesday that the city was intending to add fluorosalicylic acid, and not natural fluoride, into the water supply.
“It is basically toxic waste,” she said, asking the council to reverse its decision.
The council voted 4-2 Oct. 11 to proceed with the addition of fluoride.
At the conclusion of the regular session agenda Tuesday, the council approved a motion by Council member Holly Gotcher to bring the issue back for another vote at the Nov. 8 meeting.