The board decided 3-1 in February to end the fluoridation process, with Alderman Terry Countermine voting against the motion. Countermine told his colleagues removing fluoride would hurt residents who can’t afford regular visits to the dentist.
On Monday, Aldermen Chuck Vest, David Sell and Jerome Fitzgerald reversed their votes to remove fluoride from the water supply.
Sell said it was studies and research, like that from the Mayo Clinic, that helped to change his mind on fluoridation.
“I didn’t really see any hard scientific evidence on the detractors’ side to support it (fluoride) coming out,” Sell told Press staff writer Jessica Fuller after the meeting.
Calls for removing fluoride from the public water supply have come up from time to time in other municipalities, where elected officials have also relied on the scientific facts to guide their way. Data shows the benefits of fluoridation far outweigh the many debunked concerns that have been expressed about the practice.
Fluoridation has been endorsed by many health care professionals, including the American Dental Association and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And even though the Environmental Protection Agency now says water utilities no longer need to put in the same level of fluoride as they did decades ago because of advancements in dental care, fluoridation still benefits public health.