Columbia City Council votes against discontinuation of fluoride

Nov 5, 2013

Credit Jenn Durfey / flickr

The Columbia City Council voted unanimously Monday night against a resolution that would have discontinued the use fluoride in the city’s water supply.

Many residents had reported health concerns regarding the presence of fluoride in the water, and the Columbia Board of Health investigated these claims earlier this year.

In April, the board voted in favor of continuing the addition of fluoride to the water supply and they sent a report to the council, who put the resolution up to a vote.

Members of the Columbia Board of Health, including several dentists and doctors, were on hand to support the use of fluoride.

Local pediatrician Kristin Sohl works with children with special needs. She says low-income families need access to fluoride in order to get good dental care.

“Many of our amazing dentists here in Columbia are unable to care for kids who have Medicaid because of reimbursement issues,” Sohl said. “But anyway, those children are able to be protected because of the fluoride in the water.”

Despite the overwhelming opposition to the resolution, many supported it, saying that the fluoride was dangerous and caused adverse health effects. Daniel Redmond was against fluoridation because he was unclear about what would be in his water.

“It says that they’re supposed to have the list of all of the known or suspected contaminants and couldn’t get that, nobody could get that,” Redmond said. "So the question that really remains is, you know, what exactly is being put into the water?”

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she remains open to both viewpoints, but said she ultimately decided to represent residents’ opinions.

“I have had far more people contact me and tell me they want to keep fluoride in the water,” Nauser said. “So as their duly elected representative, I will honor their wishes and follow and not vote against taking fluoride out of our water.”

The council voted against the resolution after hearing more than an hour of testimony from the public. Council members also committed to following the recommendations on continuing fluoridation that were proposed by the Columbia Board of Health.