Is fluoride in drinking water safe?

Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:27:46 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 07 2013 07:17:50 PM CST
VILLAGE OF HOLMEN, Wis. -

The Village of Holmen is once again discussing the issue of fluoride in its water.

In 2008, voters passed a referendum to begin using the chemical treatment.

It was finally implemented in 2011, but only for a week when board members voted to suspend it until new guidelines were approved.

The debate right now is not whether or not to add fluoride to the water, but rather what kind of fluoride should be used.

The Village board recently voted to switch the type of fluoride, one that is more in line with the new guidelines and one they say is safer.

However, switching to the new fluoride comes at a cost of thousands of dollars in equipment changes.

But safer or not, not everyone agrees consuming any fluoride in water is a good idea.

Whether it’s in a foam or gel form, using fluoride is a common practice at Midwest Dental in Holmen.

“By protecting teeth and making them stronger, especially in kids, is very crucial as their cleansing habits haven't been entirely developed,” said Dr. Joseph Weber, a dentist at Midwest Dental.

Weber said many of the patients he sees come from rural communities where only well water is available.

Also, the Village of Holmen currently doesn't provide fluoride in its water.

For these two reasons, Weber often prescribes prescription fluoride tablets for patients to help protect their teeth.

“I can't say that kids with fluoride in their water won't have cavities, and I can't say that kids without fluoride will always have cavities,” said Weber. “There's too many variables to it. That's just one of the possibilities to try and prevent it, so we obviously encourage it.’

“I personally am totally against it,” said Michael Berkley, doctor of chiropractics at Barge Chiropratic Clinic in La Crosse.

Berkely said while fluoride may have its benefits in external use. Consuming it in drinking water just isn't safe.

“They have linked it to pituitary gland issues, to thyroid gland issues to dental fluorosis,” said Berkley. “It's very difficult to prove reasons for it or against it because there's no way you can tell what's going to happen over the course of a lifetime, at the cellular level by ingesting a toxic chemical.”

Berkley said even though the village board will be implementing the chemical treatment in the future, he would rather everyone had a choice.

“It just makes good common sense that the cleaner the water, the cleaner the air, the better it is for you,” said Berkley.

News 8 also reached out to the Village of Holmen's Public Works Department as well as the chairman of the board for more information about the change in fluoride, and the costs that come with it.

The public works director said board members will meet Thursday night to further discuss the issue.