Fluoride Action Network

Waterloo dentist argues for putting fluoride back in the water.

Source: The Courier | September 6th, 2022 | By Will Cioci
FAN Editorial Note: Dr. Nothem makes many false statements in this article including: “It would take 85 glasses of water per day for an adult to develop chronic fluorosis” – research has shown that dental fluorosis often develops early in life during a critical window of fluoride over-exposure. (JS)

With Waterloo having discontinued using fluoride in local water, a local dentist told the city council last week it should resume the common, decades-old practice.

The city voted to end its fluoride service in April in order to avoid costly well upgrades required to legally store the chemical. The last of Waterloo’s fluoride stores have since run out, Mayor Jenifer Quimby said.

There is no legal requirement that municipalities provide fluoride in drinking water.

State law requires that fluoride, if used, be stored away from other chemicals such as chlorine, which the city’s utility department also keeps stores of. Waterloo’s well system was constructed before those regulations went into effect, but the planned upgrades would have required coming into compliance.

Had the program continued, planned maintenance to the city’s water utilities would have required some $400,000 in upgrades for chemical storage.

“Now we’re going through well updates, we’re no longer grandfathered in,” Quimby said.

Dr. Andrew Nothem of Waterloo Family Dental argued the case for continuing to add fluoride to drinking water, citing the chemical’s dental health benefits for children.

He cited studies that show the benefits of fluoridation and said that each dollar spent on fluoride in public water could save residents $20 in dental costs.

“In populations that have no access to dental care, there is a demonstrated difference,” he said of the chemical’s effect on dental health.

Nothem also sought to ease concerns from some residents about other potential effects of fluoridation. He cited studies that showed no relationship between fluoride intake and IQ or thyroid health.

“It would take 85 glasses of water per day for an adult to develop chronic fluorosis,” Nothem said. “More kids die every year of tooth decay than from fluoride problems.”

Some residents’ concerns stem from the fact that in 2015, the CDC changed its recommended fluoride level for drinking water, from seven to 12 parts per million to no more than seven parts per million. The CDC says the change is due to the amount of fluoride most Americans get from other sources, such as toothpaste.

City Council members seemed receptive to Dr. Nothem’s comments, but there was no item for discussion on the agenda that would allow a vote or significant discussion. Multiple members cited a lack of public input to guide their decision, even during initial deliberations on the issue.

“We talked about this and said it would probably go to a public hearing,” Thomas said. “But nobody contacted us. Nobody called us, nobody emailed, nobody showed up. We’re not seeing the public coming and asking us to do this.”

Mayor Quimby said these discussions were part of ongoing difficulties in engaging the public in the city’s work.

“This has been in the paper, in the meeting minutes,” she said. “I’m the mayor, and I only got two emails about it.”

Council member Jeanette Petts thanked Dr. Nothem for his comments and said going forward, the city should seek to better engage local professionals in their decision making.

*Original article online at: https://www.hngnews.com/waterloo_marshall/waterloo-dentist-argues-for-putting-fluoride-back-in-the-water/article_f3977c6c-2e14-11ed-b53a-7f910a4f1bf9.html