Monday night the Madison Utilities board of directors unanimously passed a recommendation from General Manager Ricky Pounders to lower the fluoride levels from 0.8 to 0.7 milligrams per liter of the city’s drinking water.
The Department of Health and Human Resources made the recommendation in January 2011 that 0.7 be the minimal amount of fluoride in a city’s water supply.
Madison residents Robin and Ben Gremillion were among nearly a dozen people who showed up to voice their collective opinion opposing fluoride in the drinking water. After listening to the pleas of the Gremillions and several others who spoke against fluoride, the board promised to do further study to see if the chemical is good for the community or not.
“This is the first time since I’ve been on the board in 10 years that anyone has said anything about fluoride,” said Larry Vannoy, one of two city council representatives on the utility’s board of directors. “We have not heard from the medical and dental community and I want to educate myself before I vote. I appreciate their concerns.”
Pounders said he is “neutral” on fluoride but feels he is “not qualified” to go against a recommendation by HHS, which is made up of medical and dental experts.
“This is not a water quality issue,” he said. “We can take it out and it doesn’t affect our permit. But as long as we have regulatory groups, they’re the ones who need to make the decision.”
Vannoy suggested the board convene for a work session in which it can further discuss the fluoride issue. Pounders agreed to see if he can find local experts such as dentists or doctors to address the issue at the work session.
Robin Gremillion said the vote to lower the level is a “baby step” but she was happy the board seems to be listening to her concerns about fluoride and called it “a positive step forward.”
She says fluoride has caused her and her 10-year-old daughter to both have thyroid problems, which have improved since the family installed a purification system in their home last summer.
Her husband said the issue is more about the fact they and anyone drinking fluoridated water [sic: Hill, Bernice 3/5/12 copy stopys here] are being “medicated” with a chemical not prescribed by a doctor.
“They have no business medicating us,” said Ben Gremillion. “They have no idea how much water I drink per day.”
Robin Gremillion presented the board with information from the Fluoride Action Network website (www.fluoridealert.org/) which says fluoride can cause a number of health-related problems, including affecting the thyroid gland, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease and other illnesses.
She said even the American Dental Association no longer recommends babies to drink fluoridated water because it can causes a discoloration of teeth when they are being formed.