UPDATE: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Wichita voters will get a chance at making their voices heard in November whether to add fluoride to the city drinking water.
The city council unanimously voted to place the fluoride issue on the general election ballot.
More than two dozen people spoke before the council regarding the ordinance providing for the fluoridation of water or for the request for an election.
According to Council documents, cost estimates include a capital cost of $2.3 million to construct the necessary building improvements. In addition, operations and maintenance costs would total $570,600 per year, which would pay for the chemicals, energy, personnel, and other expenses necessary to fluoridate the water.
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Monday, August 20, 2012
It's been something the city of Wichita has gone back on forth on for decades: whether or not to add fluoride to our water supply.
Tuesday morning, city leaders will make a decision that could bring Wichita one step closer to joining the ranks of cities with fluoridated water supplies.
It's something that we all rely on every day to stay healthy and hydrated. But Wichita’s water, or at least what's not in it, is at the heart of a heated debate.
“Public water fluoridation is absolutely a no brainer,” Wichita city council member Janet Miller said.
“How many times do we have to say no?" Fluoride Free Kansas Spokesperson Don Landis said.
The people in favor of adding fluoride to the city's water supply say the main benefit would be improving dental health in the community.
“There's been over 3,000 studies that have shown that community water fluoridation is safe healthy and effective in preventing decay in people of all ages,” Dr. Sarah Meng with Wichitans for Healthy Teeth said.
While those against it believe the water supply should be left as is and say adding fluoride could have unhealthy side effects.
“Well, because it will remain my choice if I want to take fluoride as a supplement. I'm free to do that. When it's put in my water, then I and no one else in Wichita has that free choice,” Landis said.
Earlier this month, Wichitans for Healthy Teeth drew up a petition asking the city to fluoridate the water supply. They collected more than 11,000 signatures, leaving the city council with two choices: either make a decision themselves or put it on the ballot and let voters decide.
“It makes sense for a governing body to approve to make this decision rather than give it two months time to drag out the misinformation that is circulating,” Miller said.
“This is going to affect everybody in the city of Wichita, and actually those outside of the city, and so I think it's very important that their voice be heard on this issue,” Wichita city council James Clendenin said.
The city council will make their decision at Tuesday's meeting. Miller told us they're still getting estimates on how much equipment and supplies would cost to get everything started. She says once they cover those costs, it would add about nine cents per month to the average water bill to keep water fluoridated.