Milwaukee review: No reason to remove fluoride from water

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee Health Department review of research and relevant studies on water fluoridation shows there's no reason to remove fluoride from the city's drinking water.

The review was conducted in response to Alderman Jim Bohl's proposal to stop water fluoridation.

"As my wife likes to tell me - first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then finally, they open their eyes and come on board. I believe this is the case with fluoride," Alderman Bohl said Tuesday, May 29th.

Bohl and other anti-fluoride advocates say there's already enough fluoride in toothpaste. They say keeping fluoride in drinking water is overkill -- leading to rotten teeth and brittle bones.

The city of Milwaukee spends $540,000 a year fluoridating the water.

In a news release issued Tuesday morning, health department officials said: "At this time, the MHD does not support the removal of fluoride from drinking water provided by the City of Milwaukee Water Works. The MHD recognizes the scientific evidence showing that appropriate levels of fluoride in drinking water do not have significant adverse health effects, and that water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective means of preventing dental caries (tooth decay) for both children and adults in the community."

Alderman Bohl said he would rather spend the money on dental care for low-income children.

"If we had to do something to provide a good use of funds to provide a poisonous substance in our water, we are better served by providing dental services to those who are currently under served," Bohl said.

Officials with the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin also disagree with Alderman Bohl.

"It's very important that people do their homework and they understand this has been proved time and time again to be effective," Matt Crespin with the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin said.

Health department officials say until the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services or EPA changes their recommendations, the MHD will not change its existing operation.

Currently, the Dept. of Health and Human Services recommends between .7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. Milwaukee water currently has 1 milligram per liter. Lake Michigan naturally has .2 milligrams of fluoride per liter, and the city of Milwaukee adds the rest.

Alderman Bohl has written a resolution banning the addition of fluoride in Milwaukee water. He plans to present it to the Common Council Steering and Rules Committee on Thursday, May 31st.

Related stories:

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.