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Fluoridation repeal ordinance gets second tabling
October 6, 2017

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A motion to pass the second reading of an ordinance that would repeal a 1958 ordinance mandating adding to fluoride to Rugby water during the treatment process was made Monday evening at a Rugby City Council meeting.

The motion died for lack of a second, and the second reading was tabled after for further study.

Fluoride occurs naturally in the city's water at a rate of 0.3 parts per million. More fluoride is added at the water treatment plant to get up to the state health department's suggested level of 0.7 ppm. The removal of fluoride was discussed due to a corrosive atmosphere causing damage to electronic equipment at the water treatment plant.

Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft asked for whom and at what point is added fluoride most beneficial. Rugby dentist Paul Niemi said systemic ingestion of fluoride is good for those whose teeth are developing, adding the fluoride makes a difference in tooth hardness.

"Why has the state not mandated [fluoride addition] if it's such a great deal?" Ward 1 Councilman Lotvedt asked.

N.D. Department of Health Oral Health Program Director Kimberli Yineman, who was present at the meeting, said she wished the state would.

Lotvedt questioned why the suggestion was lowered to 0.7 ppm. Niemi said the suggested rate had been lowered from 1.2 ppm to 0.7 due to the increased amount of fluoridated products, including bottled water, but just that alone wouldn't be enough.

A letter had been shared in council packets from Daniel B. Strader, a Dallas, Texas-based dentist who wrote to the Dallas City Council when water fluoridation came to a vote there. Strader wrote that fluoridated water caused fluorosis (white and brown spots) in 40 percent of Dallas children; causes teeth and bones to become brittle; is not beneficial to adults; competes with iodine in the thyroid; and lowers children's IQ by seven points.

Lotvedt said the North Dakota cities of Rolette and Oakes do not fluoridate their water. Niemi responded that water around the Richland County area has a natural concentration of fluoride at 1.2 ppm.

"This is an archaic ordinance," Lotvedt said of the 1958 ordinance.

Mayor Arland Geiszler questioned whether fluoride addition could be done at a site other than the water treatment plant and what it would take to do so.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Sue Steinke said the council needs to know the "complete picture."

Other actions

- The council approved bids for phase two of improvements at the water treatment plant. PKG Contracting, of Fargo, was the low bid for general contracting work at $342,600. Samson Electric, of Park River, was the low bid for electrical contracting at $189,251.

- The council approved a budget transfer of over $2.064 million. The transfer comes from a deposit created when the bond for the 2009 citywide street improvement project was refinanced, and the amount had not been budgeted for.

- The council approved September meeting minutes, bills and financial statements, Municipal Judge's report, Rugby Job Development Authority board meeting minutes and financial statements, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau's 2018 budget.

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