Chemical in water debate comes to Houston

By Lauren Freeman - Anchor

HOUSTON - The debate over whether to take a chemical linked to cancer and diminished IQ out of our water supply has come to Houston.

According to the office of Houston City Council Member Helena Brown, the council has heard from a number of Houstonians who want to remove fluoride from our tap water.

During a public session this week, citizens voiced their concerns and Council Member Brown heard their pleas saying, "The city debt has been a key concern ever since I took office. Any way in which we can save funds when there are no funds is a good thing. Valid arguments beyond the financial one have been shared with us, such as: fluoride is a poison, a toxic substance which needs to be properly disposed (the city uses federally permissible levels in the water); fluoridating has had ill effects on citizens (such as the effect on teeth, bones, and the link to cancer); the city is in effect forcing medication; the original purpose decades ago is defeated with the increase of toothpaste/mouthwash usage and the decrease in the drinking of tap water."

Council Member Jones shared the concerns of the other constituents who are worried about the chemicals in our water, the health risks associated with fluoride and the large cost associated with fluoridating a city's water supply -- over half a million dollars a year in Houston.

"Now is a time when many cities are forgoing fluoridation due to the overall lack of any tangible benefit and with the consideration that the population is currently at potential risk of overexposure to fluoride chemical compounds," Jones said.

Council Member Brown's official press release went on to say, "Harvard University released a study in 2006 that linked fluoridation to bone cancer in young men. The process of fluoridating the water supply began in the 1960s, and the City of Houston began it in the 1980s. With time, science and society move forward."

If Houston were to stop adding fluoride to it's water supply, it would join a host of other cities already doing this. Cities like Santa Fe, NM, Pinellas County, FL, College Station.

According to the Fluoride Action Network, fluoridation of water has been banned across much of Europe for years. The FAN also says dozens of smaller cities in the U.S. have already stopped adding the chemical to their drinking water. FAN's website also reports at present, 24 studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ.

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