The St. Croix Falls City Council amended its fluoridation ordinance to state that fluoride levels shall not exceed an average monthly level of 0.7 milligrams per liter, putting the city in compliance with a newly set Wisconsin mandate.
Councilpersons Lori Erickson and Don Anderson voted to change the ordinance, while Randy Korb and Loreen Morrell abstained.
The ordinance does not restrict the addition of fluoride, paving the way for yet another contentious vote on the matter. That vote will likely come at the end of March, or the first meeting of April, according to City Administrator, Joel Peck.
Nearly 40 citizens filled the Council chambers to make public comment. While the Feb. 12 meeting featured a majority of public against fluoridation, the Feb. 25 meeting saw the opposite.
Numerous local dentists and doctors supported fluoridation, while Polk County Health Department Director Gretchen Sampson opened the evening’s discussion with a PowerPoint presentation on the health benefits of public water fluoridation.
Sampson advised the council and the public to be wary of information found on the internet, and that sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dental Association should be “trusted.”
“There’s a clear consensus with all of the proliferant number of health related organizations,” she said. “On the other side of the scale, there is really no widely respected medical or health organization that opposes fluoride.”
Hayley Cermin, daughter of Jon and Cheryl Cermin, owners of Falls Orthodontics, read a written statement in lieu her mother, Cheryl Cermin, who is currently in India doing relief dental work.
“The ultimate consequence of this debate, however it is resolved, is the dental health of children in our community,” Cermin wrote. “I ask this community to do whatever it takes to provide the potential for good dental health to our children, our future.”
St. Croix Falls resident Casey Borchert told the Council that he contacted several dentists and doctors about speaking at the meeting, but that the dentists were afraid of backlash from the American Dental Association.
“Regardless of whether or not it’s good or not, it is forced, inescapable, un-dosed medication, and I can’t think for the life of me how any doctor or medical professional would ever condone forced medication,” Borchert said. “Doctors have an ethical and a legal obligation to informed consent, and fluoridation throws informed consent out the window.”
The public testimony lasted for over two hours, and was at times contentious. The pro-fluoride contingent accused the City of not giving proper notice of the initial meeting, while the non-fluoridation group accused the City of allowing more time to the public turned out at the most recent meeting.
“I think we have to honor the thoughts of every citizen, and I don’t think we should ridicule or laugh at others for thinking differently,” Alderwoman Morrell said.
Several council members, including the mayor, expressed regret that there hadn’t been a more “balanced” meeting two weeks earlier, where both sides were equally represented.
“I think it would have been prudent for us to wait, at least another week,” Alderman Korb said. “I’m trying to be objective, taking into mind the common good. We have people here, for and against.”
Currently fluoridation is discontinued in the city; however the council appears ready to take the issue up once more, in what should provide some closure in the fluoridation debate.