Residents, health/dental community clash on Green Bay's fluoridization of water

GREEN BAY, Wis. - On Monday night, residents, dental and healthcare professionals, and others debated the necessity of continuing to add fluoride to the water supply during Green Bay's Protection and Welfare Committee meeting.

The issue was added onto the committee's agenda after Green Bay resident Brenda Staudenmaier asked the city to consider stopping the practice.

Staudenmaier says she believes fluoride is detrimental to many organs in the body, especially the brain and thyroid.

"We have over 196 research studies we've submitted that show that it causes brain damage, it causes learning disabilities, and all kinds of problems," Staudenmaier said.

Many residents sided with Staudenmaier, citing studies they said agreed with those claims.

The dental community, healthcare community, and others came to fluoride's defense, arguing that it is harmless to health and helps strengthen enamel while keeping teeth healthy.

"We have been following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and our local DNR," Nancy Quirk, general manager of Green Bay Water Utility, said. "I've done it for 30 years, fluoridating water supply based on their recommendations."
Dentists say they have seen an improvement in overall oral health after fluoride was added to Green Bay's water.
"I'm definitely for it, there's a huge difference between the generation who had fluoride in water and the generation who didn't," Dr. Ellen Meyer, a dentist at Dental Associates of Green Bay, said. "We see it every day, the older patients, they're losing their teeth."
The discussion also focused on how much fluoride a person should be exposed to and if it benefits an individual's oral health to ingest fluoride from their water, versus just getting it from toothpaste alone. 
"I feel like there are a lot more reasons for me to feel concerned about the neurological aspects and also the effects on the interior of the body once fluoride is systematically applied to our water, compared to what happens to the dental health of a person," Green Bay resident Martin Zaharive said, who came to listen to the discussion and raise questions about the element.
The Protection and Welfare Committee decided to hold their vote on continuing to add fluoride to water until one of their next meetings on February 27th, so committee members may have more time to review the information presented from both sides. 


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