Shawnee Mayor Wes Mainord recessed the City Commission meeting to open the Shawnee Municipal Authority meeting where a presentation on fluoride by HDR Engineering was given.

Utility Director Steve Nelms wrote in a memo to City Manager Brian McDougal that staff has worked closely with HDR Engineering to put together an informational fluoridation presentation. The presentation included historical facts about fluoridation at the Shawnee Water Treatment Plant.

Nelms said Shawnee switched from powder to liquid fluoride in 2003 but after hurricane damage to the refinery, fluoride supply stopped and fluoridation ended in 2006.

The presentation Monday night also focused on the team’s perspective on the benefits versus risks of fluoridation. The natural fluoride concentration was tested and results were presented.

Dr. Philip Brandhuber, professional associate with HDR Engineering from Denver, Colo. presented the benefits and risks of fluoridation.

Brandhuber said the water in Shawnee is healthy as is and adding fluoride wouldn’t necessarily make it any healthier.

He said the benefits, according to Health and Human Services, which is fully responsible for recommending the health benefit levels and aspects, is reduction in cavities. Brandhuber added that there are many studies that show fluoride helps with cavity reduction however he added there are studies that contradict that as well so adding fluoride would be a preference.

Brandhuber said the risks according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for regulation of Fluoride as a contaminant, are total fluoride exposure and dental/skeletal fluorosis. He said too much fluoride is a bad thing and EPA warns against that because it could be damaging to bones.

Brandhuber said cities that fluoridate to 0.8 mg/L include Oklahoma City, Norman, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs and other nearby cities. Cities in close proximity to Shawnee that do not fluoridate include Edmond and Cushing.

After the presentation by Brandhuber and Candy Staring, professional engineer and project manager with HDR Engineering in Oklahoma City, the City Commission meeting was resumed.

See tomorrow’s paper for more information on Monday night’s City Commission meeting.