Article courtesy of Grant Sloan | October 23, 2014 | Ozarkfirst.com | Shared as educational material
FORSYTH, Mo. — A community in the Ozarks has stopped putting fluoride in its water supply, at least temporarily. The decision follows a sanitary survey from the Department of Natural Resources.
“Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children,” say Taney County Health Department dental division manger, Julie Schanda, “Preventing tooth decay is important to keep them in school to make sure they’re eating healthy.”
Earlier this week, Forsyth opted to suspend the practice although nothing is wrong with the water supply – it has always fallen within appropriate standards. However, the Department of Natural Resources recommended that the city update it’s system before continuing the process.
“Community water fluoridation is important, but it’s also important to have a safe system,” says Schanda.
“We really weren’t doing anything wrong,” says Forsyth city supervisor, Chris Robertson. “There is just a better and safer way of doing it.”
Robertson says adding fluoride by a pump is common practice, but he says having the product in the same room as the adding site, and the way the city monitors fluoride, in the lines, is antiquated.
“If you’re taking it at one place down the line it’s not representative of what it is everywhere else in town,” says Robertson.
The city supervisor says if the pump malfunctioned too much could be added, and wouldn’t be caught until the city did it’s monthly samples. He says the cost of a computerized system that could catch a malfunction right away, combined with the cost of new buildings to house the fluoride, would cost over $100,000.
“When you have a small city and a small budget, there’s really no other option for us except to suspend it” says Robertson. “It wasn’t a personal view of the council it was kust a concern of safety,” he says.
Another recommendation from the DNR was for the city to add chlorine to it’s water supply to help kill harmful bacteria, should it show up.
Robertson supports the city’s decision to not adopt the recommendation because the city has a relatively new water system, and he says chlorine is only needed in towns with a large amount of industrial buildings.
“We have an excellent flushing system and we take good care of our wells and towers, ” says Robertson. “Our shallowest well is more than 950-feet deep and the rest of them are over 1,000, so we don’t feel like we’re at a potential for that.”
As for the monitoring system, the Taney County Health Department says it’s exploring grant options from the state.