The city of Waupaca will continue to fluoridate its drinking water.
The council voted 8-2 during a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, in favor of doing so.
Deb Fenske, Steve Hackett, Paul Hagen, Paul Lehman, John Lockwood, Eric Olson, Scott Purchatzke and Dave Shambeau voted yes.
Paul Mayou and Alan Kjelland voted no.
“I had about 20 people approach me in my district to talk about this. I did not have one say they wanted it taken out,” Shambeau said.
He made the motion to leave fluoride in the city’s drinking water following two hours of presentations on the subject.
In all, nine people spoke.
City resident Lisa Funk was one of them.
In December, she requested fluoride be removed from the city’s water supply, saying it is debatable whether fluoride provides any benefits.
The single mother of three children told the council she began studying the subject last July.
“I’m not anti-fluoride,” Funk said. “I’m not anti-dentist.”
What she is against, she said, is continuing to add an industrial waste product never intended for the water supply into the water.
The city began fluoridating its water in 1970.
“That was 40 years ago,” Funk said. “Times have changed.”
If the city cannot be 100 percent certain fluoride is safe for ingestion, is it safe to continue adding it to the water, she asked.
James Gardner said 65 years of science backs up community water fluoridation as a safe and healthy way to effectively prevent tooth decay.
He has a bachelor of science degree in public health and a master of science degree in population health.
His experience includes six years in environmental health with the U.S. Air Force and 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control.
Referring to communities which have discontinued fluoridating water, Gardner said some cases were because fluoride is naturally occuring at optimal levels in the water supply. In other cases, communities discontinued fluroidation to save money.
Saving money is not something he heard as part of Waupaca’s discussion, he said.
Before the end of the meeting, the council learned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed changing the recommended optimal fluoride level in drinking water.
As a result, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommended the optimal level of fluoride now be .70 milligrams per liter for public water systems in the state participating in community water fluoridation.
It was effective Feb. 1, and the city will follow that recommendation.
The previous recommendation for public water systems was 1.0 milligrams of fluoride per liter.
“Does it bother anyone it’s suddenly been reduced? Why? Because we’re getting too much,” Mayou said of the new recommendation. “You have to keep in mind there are other sources of fluoride, Is it going to go down again in the future? It very well may.”
Read the full article about the Feb. 12 meetng in the Feb. 21 issue of the County Post West.