FIRCREST, Wash. — It’s in our toothpaste, and for a lot of us it’s in our water, too. But there is a movement in the city of Fircrest to get the fluoride out of the water supply.
Fircrest was one of the first communities in Washington to put fluoride in the water nearly 60 years ago, all in an effort to combat tooth decay.
Parent John Mishko says his child is the reason he and other parents are pushing the City Council to stop putting fluoride in the water supply.
“We don’t do that with any other medication,” said Mishko. “We shouldn’t use our water supply as a delivery of drugs or chemicals.”
Mishko believes fluoridating the water supply is outdated, unnecessary and potentially dangerous. He cites studies that it can lower a child’s IQ and cause autism, while damaging kidney and bones in adults. And, he adds, we already ingest too much of it.
“Just in your food sources, your cereal, your orange juice, your lettuce, your grapes, you’re getting three times the recommended amount, so it’s not necessary to have it in the diet.”
Dr. Anthony Chen, of Tacoma-Pierce County Health, disagrees that fluoride can cause health problems and says that in a public water system, it reduces tooth decay by 25 percent.
“Fluoride is a proven and safe method of preventing cavities and improving oral health,” said Chen.
He believes even more communities should do it. Right now, just 40% of the people in Pierce County have fluoridated water, and, in the latest survey among 3rd graders, half the kids had cavities.
The Fircrest City Council is taking up the issue Tuesday night. If council members decide to remove the fluoride, they’ll have to vote to change an existing city ordinance. The law has been on the books since 1957.