Voters in Houston to decide on fluoride in city's water supply

HOUSTON, Mo. -- One Ozarks city has a question on their ballot that no other city in the Ozarks has. The City of Houston is asking voters if it should continue to add fluoride to the city's drinking water. Michael Deere has reaction from both sides of the issue.

Counties all across the Ozarks are seeing a large absentee vote leading up to what's expected to be a great turnout for Election Day.

Everyone will have their say on statewide amendments and propositions but for folks in Houston, an extra question is on their ballot.

Shall the City of Houston continue adding hydrofluorosilicic acid to create fluoride in the municipal water supply?

The City of Houston has had fluoride in the city's water since a city council vote in 2002.

Local dentist Dr. Joe Richardson is all for keeping fluoride in the city's water.

"It's a proven dental health benefit. It's been around for 70 years. It's the most studied public health measure there is out there because it's been around this long. There are no peer reviewed scientific journals that have studies that show negative effects of the anti-fluoridation people will tell you," Richardson said.

Richardson says those against fluoride try to use the term hydrofluorosilicic acid as a scare tactic.

He says if the water was dangerous, folks all across Missouri and the country wouldn't be drinking it.

"Well they bring up the hydrofluorosilicic acid and that is where the fluoride ion comes from. Once the hydrofluorosilicic acid hits the water in the well house, it dissolves, it's gone. The ion is released. Do you think if it was in the water and is being sent to the state once a week for test that we would still have fluoridation," Richardson added.

If fluoride is voted out of the drinking water, Richardson predicts he will see patients and especially kids in rural Missouri coming in with more tooth decay.

"I've been here since 1981 and I would expect to start seeing again what we saw in the eighties and nineties before we added it in 2002. We would have kids come in with more rampant decay. We don't hardly see that anymore," Richardson exclaimed.

On the other side of the issue is Jennifer Mainer.

She doesn't drink the city's water, rather she drinks bottled water that doesn't contain fluoride.

"If our government doesn't feel its safe to put in streams, rivers and oceans, it shouldn't be in our drinking water. It's illegal to put into moving water," Mainer told KY3.

She's glad it's up to the citizens and not city council because she feels its a medication.

"I feel it should be the person's personal choice. I feel like it's a medication. It's not pharmaceutical grade, it's an acid that contains harmful heavy metals. That's one of the things even the DHSS warns us about not having lead exposure and here it is in a product they are putting in our water," Mainer explained.

If people choose to keep it in the water, Mainer will continue to fight.

"I will go to the state level and go with the lead content. I plan to pursue this. I don't want my grandchildren to come visit and be exposed to this toxin."