The Fircrest City Council will make a decision at its regular meeting Tuesday whether to end its 57-year practice of adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water.
The vote comes at the request of a group of people — some who live in the city, others who don’t — who have petitioned the council since May to remove the additive. Group members, led by two local chiropractors, regularly attend council meetings and testify about what they say are dangerous health effects of fluoridated water.
Chiropractors John Mishko and David Stemp have supplied the council with statistics and scientific studies supporting their position that there’s no health benefit to fluoridating public water supplies. Their arguments include the belief that fluoride can lower a child’s IQ, is a “discriminatory developmental neurotoxicant” and leads to dental fluorosis — a condition that causes white spots on teeth and, in severe cases, brown stains and the pitting or mottling of tooth enamel. They have also argued that the fluoride the city adds to its water is a chemical additive from China and not the pharmaceutical-grade fluoride people receive at the dentist’s office.
They, along with others who are asking the council to remove fluoride from the water, say they should be able to choose what they and their families ingest.
Representing the other side of the debate, a number of doctors, dentists and representatives from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department have testified at council meetings about the benefits of adding fluoride to drinking water. They also provided the council with statistics and science supporting the public health benefits of fluoride and their belief that fluoride in the water improves oral health. Local health officials also noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century.
The city delivers water to more than 6,000 customers. Part of the city is serviced by the city of Tacoma’s water division, which also adds fluoride.
For the city to discontinue adding fluoride, the council must approve an ordinance to remove it from the city’s water supply and repeal an existing city ordinance that says the city will add it to the water. The vote will come during the council’s regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Fircrest City Hall, 115 Ramsdell St.