When Waupaca’s Board of Public Works meets in January, among the items on the agenda will be fluoride in the city drinking water.
It was a topic of discussion during the board’s December meeting when city resident Lisa Funk said, “I’m here to ask that fluoride be removed from our water supply.”
Funk is a mother of three children and student in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s health and wellness program.
One of her assignments last summer was to debate the topic of water fluoridation.
After reading and learning about fluoride, as part of that assignment, Funk said she developed a strong opinion about the issue.
Whether fluoride provides any benefit is debatable, she said.
Furthermore, Funk said, “If it’s true that it’s linked to health risks, we are harming ourselves.”
As a result, she attended the city’s Board of Public Works meeting to ask that fluoride be removed from the city’s water supply.
She told the board fluoride in water supplies has been a topic of concern for years.
In the United States, it became part of the water supply in the 1950s, Funk said, after recommendations that it be added as a way to prevent tooth decay.
However, opinions vary as to whether fluroide does help prevent tooth decay.
Ald. Paul Mayou told the board there is little difference between the number of decayed, missing teeth among those living in the United States, where there is fluoride in water, and in countries where fluoride is not put in the water.
Holding a tube of toothpaste, Mayou read the warning on the back of it – a warning which covers everything from what age a child should be when he begins to use toothpaste to brush his teeth to what to do if one accidentally swallows toothpaste.
“Why is this? This is toothpaste. It is so toxic that there are warnings on the back of the tube,” he said.
Mayou said if someone had asked him four months ago why the city should consider removing fluoride from its water supply, his response would have been, “Why?”
Since researching the topic himself, Mayou, like Funk, is questioning why fluoride is added to the city’s water supply.
He encouraged his fellow members of the Board of Public Works to also the research the issue.
“I’ve been told it’s a good thing all through my life. When you start looking further, it’s nasty. I didn’t know it is a poison, but it is,” Mayou said.
Ald. Paul Hagen thanked Funk for addressing the board.
“I’d like to hear both sides – maybe contact a locak dentist,” Hagen said. “After that, we could make a motion.”
Mayou said, “I”m asking it be taken out of the water. This is not an attach on fluoride itself. It is in toothpaste, mouthwash. We are putting it in the water without the infomred consent of residents.”
In towns where people have well water, not fluoridated water, he asked if people have teeth falling out, because there is no fluoride in their water.
Hagen said, “This is a decision we shouldn’t make with just one presentation. We should look over the materials. I’m happy to bring it back next month for discussion.”
The next meeting of the Board of Public Works is tentatively scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at City Hall.
Director of Public Works John Edlebeck said the city fluroridates its water five out of seven days per week. .
He noted that the Environmental Protection Agency is also looking at the issue, saying he anticipates a recommendation for a decrease in fluoride levels.
Some communities in the United States have stopped adding fluoride to their water supplies.
Funk said if the issue is adding something to water to help strengthen teeth, then it should be calcium and magenesium that are added.