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Milwaukee will continue to fluoridate

Common council lowers level to 0.7 mg/L

July 31, 2012

Milwaukee—The Milwaukee Common Council voted July 24 to continue fluoridating the city's water supply, but to lower its fluoride level to 0.7 milligrams per liter, matching the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services new proposed fluoride level.

The city's Common Council members endorsed a proposal directing the Milwaukee Water Works and the city's Health Department to work with the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin to develop and provide notices to citizens about the potential risk fluoridated water poses to babies under six months of age who are exclusively fed infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water as well as the benefits of fluoridation.

Notices would be distributed in annual water quality reports, posted on the water works and health department websites and posted in all health department facilities. Residents who get maternal and infant home visits from health department personnel will also receive information on the use of fluoridated water to reconstitute infant formula.

“The Wisconsin Dental Association and the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association welcome the opportunity to work with the Milwaukee Health Department, Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin and other public health advocates in educating all city residents and customers of Milwaukee Water Works of the many dental health benefits community fluoridation provides to people of all ages and all socio-economic backgrounds,” said WDA Executive Director Mark Paget. “Over the last 65 years, water fluoridation has proven to be safe, effective and economical—truly one of public health's greatest achievements.”

In May, Alderman Jim Bohl proposed that the city immediately stop fluoridating its water because he said fluoridated water is not safe. Following an initial hearing May 31, many individuals, groups and organizations both for and against fluoridation provided information to the Common Council Steering and Rules Committee and other members of the council. At the July meeting, Ald. Bohl proposed a substitute resolution to lower the fluoride level. The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Steering and Rules Committee and later by the Common Council.