Fluoride Action Network

Hastings officials debate water fluoridation

Source: KHAS-TV Channel 5 | March 19th, 2008 | By Denise Booker
Location: United States, Nebraska

A bill going through the legislature could require cities with more than a thousand people to put fluoride in their water. It is something that is up for discussion Wednesday night at City Hall in Hastings.

City officials say it is a tough issue.

City council will take a look at the bill Wednesday night to see if it is something they are willing to support.

Officials say putting fluoride in the water would get pretty expensive.

But others in the community say it is well worth the costs.

Adding fluoride to Hastings’ drinking water is something city leaders say needs a closer look.

“Do we support this bill? Do we add an amendment to it? I would certainly ask for some amendments as far as the time issue, give the city some time to make this addition to the water system,” said city councilman Everett Gobel.

Time and money are two major issues the city leaders will have to debate.

“It is going to cost Hastings close to a million dollars the first year this goes into operation and that is going to have an affect on people’s water bill,” Gobel said.

But a local dentist says preventing tooth decay is her biggest concern.

“When fluoride is ingested in very small amounts it actually helps the teeth to be more mineralized and therefore more resistant to tooth decay,” said Pediatric Dentist Dr. Jessica Meeske.

Though many have different concerns about the addition of fluoride, Meeske says the benefits are overwhelming.

“We have over 50 years of research that supports the effectiveness of water fluoridation, it is safe, it is cheap and it works,” said Meeske.

Meeske said elderly and low income people will benefit the most by the addition of fluoride.

Officials say Omaha and Lincoln have had fluoride in their drinking water for decades.

If this bill is passed in the legislature it is not a done deal for cities like Hastings. The cities included in the bill could put the issue on the ballot.

In the end, the final decision would then be up to voters.

But there is one stipulation. The cities would have to hold those referendum elections by the end of this year.