A readily passed decision by Humboldt City Council members last month became a hot button issue at Monday night’s session.
On May 11, the council unanimously voted to add fluoride to Humboldt’s municipal water supply at .7 to 1.1 parts per million, a level sufficient to combat tooth decay.
That was still too much for some Humboldt residents, who believe no amount of the substance is safe.
Paul Finney, a local acupuncturist, likened fluoride, which occurs naturally in the Neosho River in small amounts, to an insecticide.
Finney also mentioned cities that had discontinued fluoridation of their water supplies in the 1990s, though gave no reason as to their decisions.
One community he mentioned on the list, Wichita, has actually never fluoridated its water. Its naturally occurring levels are higher than those found in Humboldt waters.
Finney and David Weilert, a chiropractor, argued that the public should be allowed to choose whether to ingest a substance they called “toxic” and “caustic.” Finney went so far as to bring a materials safety data sheet for pure sodium flouride, one form of the chemical.
That got the ire of councilman Dan Julich, who noted such sheets are for workers using the chemical, not consumers of a highly diluted product. “It says right here, dilute it with water,” Julich read from the sheet.
Another councilman, Sam Murrow, added “It’s all about dosage levels. Any medication is toxic in too large a dose.”
Murrow, a paramedic, asked “Why, if it’s so toxic, have I never heard a doctor ask in an emergency situation for a blood fluoride level?”
Weilert argued adding fluoride to the water will be a hardship to the poor, who would have to buy reverse osmosis filters to remove it from their drinking supply if they did not want it. “If you want to help people, give them a toothbrush,” Weilert said.
John Hodgden, Humboldt water treatment plant superintendent, said during a tour of the plant last month that inexpensive faucet filters will remove a good portion of added fluoride for those who so desire.
Nonetheless, councilman Jeremy Weilert, David Weilert’s nephew, made a motion to rescind last month’s decision. Weilert was not at last month’s meeting. The motion was seconded by Jerry Griffith and passed on a 6-2 vote. Voting against rescision were Vada Aikins and Sean McReynolds.
The issue will be revisited during next month’s regular meeting.