Brushy Creek getting rid of fluoride in water

A community in Williamson County is getting rid of fluoride in its drinking water, and the move is getting mixed reaction.

The Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District said in a letter to residents:

"After careful consideration and thorough evaluation of scientific research, public opinion, and the potential health and environmental impacts, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of our community to discontinue the practice of water fluoridation effective December 1, 2023."

"The residents of Brushy Creek ought to applaud the decision makers there for a wise decision," said Stuart Cooper, executive director of the fluoride action network. "This should be a wakeup call. Look at the science."

A 2019 study in JAMA Pediatrics did find a preliminary link between fluoride exposure during pregnancy and lower IQ scores in children, though its authors emphasized more research is needed.

"Yes, fluoride in high levels is toxic, water in high levels is toxic, oxygen in high levels is toxic. So do we stop breathing?" said Tyrone Rodriguez, a San Antonio-based dentist and Texas Dental Association delegate.

Some local dentists are concerned the district's decision to remove fluoride from the water could do more harm than good.

"The idea here is that you're taking away an important resource to protect children from dental disease," said Rodriguez.

The Texas Dental Association sent a letter to Brushy Creek opposing the move. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says: "Experts have weighed the findings and quality of available evidence and concluded that there is no association between water fluoridation and any unwanted health effects other than dental fluorosis", which is a cosmetic issue.

"People, I think, are being just sensationalist and going on poor science to kind of alarm the public and making a knee-jerk reaction that's going to go ahead and leave their community vulnerable," said Rodriguez.

Brushy creek residents we spoke to had mixed reactions to nixing fluoride.

"Well, my thoughts are the less chemicals, the better. And, you know, if fluoride is what you need, then you should go to the dentist for that. I think that the water should be water and as pure as possible," said Brushy Creek resident Jennifer Perez.

"I’d probably supplement it in some other way, because I've been going to the dentist my whole life and fluoride in reasonable amounts is good for your teeth, good for you," said Loretta Brummell, who grew up in Brushy Creek.