Martinsville City Council on Tuesday will seek public comment on whether fluoride should continue to be added to the city’s drinking water.
During recent council meetings, some area residents have voiced concern about water fluoridation.
To help prevent tooth decay, Martinsville has fluoridated its water since the 1960s. About 75 percent of people nationwide who are connected to public water systems have fluoridated water, according to the American Dental Association.
Fluoride is a derivative of the element fluorine.
Dr. Jody Hershey, director of the Henry-Martinsville Health Department, and Dr. Mark Crabtree, a local dentist and former Martinsville mayor, have provided the council information showing that fluoride in water is beneficial. However, opponents have presented information showing the opposite.
During the April 28 council meeting, as part of budget negotiations for the new fiscal year that started this month, a motion was made to eliminate fluoride in drinking water. The move would have saved the city about $15,000 annually.
Although the motion failed, city officials suggested that fluoride in drinking water be discussed at length – with public input – during a future council meeting “given the apparent community interest” in the issue, a report in the council’s agenda packet states.
Anyone who wants to speak about fluoride during the public comment time and who has materials on the issue that they would like to present to the council is asked to provide those materials to city staff members for distribution to council members before the meeting, the report shows.
A time limit will be imposed on speakers, the report indicates.
The fluoride discussion will occur when the council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal building on West Church Street uptown. Other agenda items will include…
… At 7 p.m., the council will meet in closed session to consult with legal counsel.