Residents in O’Fallon, Missouri are concerned after a compound used to prevent cavities was taken out of the local water supply.
“For generations cities across the country have been adding fluoride to drinking water. It was meant to protect against tooth decay, especially among younger children. But over the past several years there’s been a move away from adding fluoride,” said pediatric dentist James Burchett.
He is a firm believer in adding fluoride. He went before the city council to plead his case, while it may prevent tooth decay there’s been a long-raging debate. Some believe that too much fluoride causes health problems.
“As my grandmother used to say, too much of anything is not good for you. Community water fluoridation is about adjusting the natural concentration of fluoride in the water to optimal levels,” said Burchett.
The city of O’Fallon stopped adding fluoride in 2009.
“The primary reason is we do have a naturally occurring level of fluoride in our water to help sustain dental health,” said Tom Drabelle with the City of O’Fallon.
He said it was also a dangerous compound for city workers to deal with.
“It’s probably the most dangerous chemical our water treatment employees did come in contact with on a daily basis. So when you combine those two factors together we thought it was probably the best thing to do,” said Drabelle.
Those in favor of fluoride said the benefit outweigh any costs.
“The city of O’Fallon will save approximately $17,000 it’s estimated. If we are, according to our city’s website, a city of 80,000 people that still comes out to about 25 cents per person,” said Burchett.
The city said since the issue has been brought up, it will look into it and seriously consider it.