Alma, Wis. — The city of Alma will continue adding fluoride to its public water supply. Mayor Corey Hanson cast the deciding vote for an equally split Alma Common Council.
City residents favored fluoridation by a more than 2 to 1 margin, according to a recent survey — 75 voted for the practice and 34 voted against.
Dentists from Buffalo City and Whitehall, Wis., and dental workers from Mondovi and Eau Claire, Wis., all urged the council to continue the practice.
Advocates said research validated fluoride's ability to help prevent tooth decay.
"The proof is in the pudding," said Joan Alexander of Alma, a retired school nurse. She said abandoning flouride would be a step backward in dental health.
Andrew Mork, a dentist in Buffalo City, said those opposed to fluoridated water were "largely misguided."
Opponents argued that fluoride mouth rinses and tablets were safer than adding the chemical to the public water supply.
Alderpersons Mary Johnson, Monica Moham and Jim Wilkie, who all voted against the measure, said there was plenty of research on the cons of drinking and cooking with fluoridated water. "All you have to do is Google fluoride," Johnson said.
Alderpersons Larry Farl, Rick Champeny and Gary Ruff voted for the measure.
Alderperson Dave Earney did not attend the meeting.
Champeny said he was "still on the fence," but voted to keep the water supply fluoridated since the public survey showed support of it.
Hanson said he supported continued fluoridation because the city has obtained funding to upgrade its fluoridation system.
The cost of fluoridating and testing the water supply costs each user $11.65 annually, Wilkie said.