Des Moines Water Works officials announced a decision on the future of fluoridation in the drinking water supplied to 500,000 metro residents, Tuesday.
Officials first heard the pros and cons from concerned citizens and dentists.
“My concern is we’ll have a dental epidemic in about 10 years if we don’t have continued fluoridation,” one resident said.
Another opposed the perceived overreach, “You’re distributing a substance to a populous, many of whom are without voice.”
Des Moines has fluoridated its water for the last 54 years. Dentists say residents pay less than $1 per year to protect the teeth of Iowa children many of whom don’t have dental insurance.
Others say there are potential health risks linked to fluoride, though the practice is widely supported by medical professionals and the World Health Organization.
After a period of public comment, Water Works officials chose to continue adding fluoride to the drinking water at the rate of 0.7 mg/L.
CEO Bill Stowe says the proven positives outweigh the potential negatives of ending fluoridation.
“We’ve sorted through that and in our view there is a strong reason to continue to fluoridate for community health purposes and we will be continuing to do that,” Stowe said.
Stowe says Water Works received hundreds of written opinions as well as those at Tuesday’s meeting.