Dissension on potentially adding fluoride to the Buda public water system led city officials to table discussion on the matter indefinitely by a 6-1 vote Tuesday. Council member David Nuckels cast the lone dissenting vote.
Council’s decision came after Brian Lillibridge, Buda city water specialist, presented council with a proposal explaining what kind of system would be used for fluoridating the water. Other topics included training staff on the system and safety of the procedure.
“The city has been using fluoride in the water since 2002, so this is nothing new to the community,” Lillibridge said. He added perceptions changed after San Marcos opted to remove fluoride from its water supply in 2015.
Lillibridge tried to allay concerns by explaining there are safeguards in place to prevent accidental spills or over application in the fouride system.
“An operator can’t just press a button turning the system on then walk away, someone has to stand there with their hand on the button continuously for the system to work,” Lillibridge said.
Lillibridge also gave council a breakdown of costs involved, most of which would be paid for by Texas Fluoride Program.
However, citizens on both sides of the matter cast their opinions during a public comment period prior to Lillibridge’s presentation.
Mayor Todd Ruge read an email from Beth Stewart, executive director of the Texas Oral Health Coalition, who commented in favor of adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply. In her letter, Stewart called it a “safe, cost effective” way to dramatically prevent tooth decay in residents.
San Marcos resident Sam Brannon, who is a member of the Fluoride Free San Marcos Coalition, condemned fluoride in drinking water and called it a neurotoxin.
“No element creates cancer faster than fluoride,” Brannon said.
HCPUA President Graham Moore, who spoke as a resident of Buda instead of a representative of HCPUA, pleaded for council members to approve the fluoridation of the city’s water supply.
“There is overwhelming scientific, credible evidence of over 70 years that has shown it is safe to add fluoride at the right levels to drinking water,” Moore said.
Long-time resident Tommy Poer was unconcerned about fluoride in the water system.
“I’m 87 years old and it hasn’t killed me yet,” Poer said, supporting the City’s objective to add fluoride to the public drinking water supply.
When discussion turned to the dais, Nuckels was the only council member not in favor of fluoridating the water supply.
Council member Angela Kennedy spoke on behalf of the Water/Wastewater committee supporting the approval of fluoridation of the water.
Nukels attempted to make a motion to deny the use of fluoride in the city water supply, which died due to the lack of a second.
He then motioned to table the item until Buda residents have a chance to vote on it, which also died on the dais.
Ruge motioned to table the item, which was seconded and approved by all but Nukels.
At this time it is unknown when or if this item will be brought up for further discussion by city council members.