SHERIDAN — Sheridan Mayor Roger Miller, Sheridan City Council members and other city employees heard another round of discussion for and against having fluoride in the water system that serves city and Sheridan Area Water Supply System customers Thursday night.
“It’s been educational for me for sure and I think that the council has also had some very educational aspects tonight,” Miller said.
“I know we’re not just talking about fluoride, we’re talking about a lot of other factors and issues involved in fluoride, so we will continue to try to figure out what our community wants,” he added.
Miller said the goal was to hear more of what the community wants to help council see what it can do as far as what’s best for the community.
“We want to make sure the community has the best advantages possible for our town and also that we can be that great community that people want to come and live in, work in and raise their families in,” Miller said.
Public works director Nic Bateson started the presentations by giving a brief history of fluoridation in Sheridan, followed by the argument for fluoridation presented by Janet Berry.
Berry spoke as a concerned citizen but also with backing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association. Clean Water Sheridan representative Erin Adams spoke against fluoridating the water on behalf of the group, as well as Audrey Wiggins.
Public comment brought dentists and medical professionals to the podium speaking in favor of fluoride in the water, both with previous experience in the mouths of Sheridanites as well as anecdotal stories.
Those opposing fluoridation also shared anecdotal stories of family members not affected positively or negatively due to fluoridation of the water system.
A woman against fluoridation shared a story about how she said the fluoride in the water caused body rashes to form on her two children. To remove the fluoride from the water, she purchased filters for her shower.
“I’ve calculated the cost of the shower filters, purchased drinking water and doctors visits for the past two years and the total comes to more than $1,500,” the woman said. “I’m a single parent and this amount has definitely caused a hardship, especially this is something we never would have chosen in the first place.”
Pediatric dentist David Bailey with Bighorn Pediatric Dentistry spoke on behalf of the children he serves.
“My voice today is for all those patients that I see each and every day that don’t have moms quite as good as your daughter,” Bailey said, referring to a woman who spoke about her grandchildren’s dental history.
“My voice is for those children because I love them and I care about them and this (fluoride in the water) helps. The research is very, very clear on that,” he added.
While no action will be taken on the matter at this time, Miller and city council members will take all that was heard at the meeting under advisement to determine next steps in the fluoridation issue.