McKINNEY –– While the Centers for Disease Control says fluoridation is one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century, a McKinney councilman is leading a push to take fluoride out of the water.
Councilman Ray Ricchi is trying to persuade his city and others to make the water more pure. He says the health risks associated with fluoride aren't worth the benefits.
Fluoride reduces tooth decay. There's no argument there. However, the debate is whether the chemical causes other problems by being exposed to too much of it.
"We're putting something in water that causes diseases that water is supposed to prevent," said McKinney resident Pam Wenzel, who convinced Ricchi to join the fluoride fight.
They say there's already enough fluoride in everyday products, like toothpaste and mouthwash. They point to studies that show overexposure to fluoride can cause Fluorosis, a disease that can cause changes in bone density and discoloration of teeth.
"When you correlate when fluoride was being added to the water back in that date and the increased number of cases of Fluorosis in the U.S., you can see where that's coming from," said Ricchi.
McKinney Dentist Marvin Berlin says he's a big fan of fluoride.
"Professionally, seeing it in practice, I know that it works," said Dr. Berlin. "So I would hate to see it go away. I just know the decay rate would go up. And that's not good."
The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves 1.5 million water customers, began fluoridating its water in 1981 at the request of member cities.
"We would need to receive letters of request from each of our 13 member cities," said Denise Hickey, the water district's spokeswoman.
Ricchi admits that may be an uphill battle. But he says even if fluoride stays, he's glad residents will learn about its potential hazards. The council will vote on March 5.