Fluoride is back on city ballot

By Emily Jo Cureton, The Triplicate July 04, 2012 05:14 pm

Petitions put  the issue back before voters

To fluoridate or not to fluoridate­ — that is the question for Crescent City voters, again.

In November they will be asked whether or not to “mandate a moratorium on water fluoridation ... until conditions are met by the fluoridation chemical manufacturer.” These conditions are: “to provide to the public toxicological reports” that would include “a list of contaminants and amounts” and “a written claim for safety.”

“I just don’t know what that means,” Councilman Rick Holley said at Monday night’s City Council meeting. He expressed concerns that the conditions of the moratorium were too ambiguous.

The measure was drafted by Katherine Kelly and Gaylen Johnson, who organized the effort to gather at least 174 signatures, the amount required to qualify the cause for a citywide vote. While city water reaches many taps throughout greater Del Norte, county residents aren’t eligible to vote on the issue.

With petition signatures validated, the Council approved placing the measure on the ballot.

Opponents of fluoridation of public water supplies contend overexposure to the chemical can cause health problems ranging from discoloration and weakening of tooth enamel to an increased risk of bone fractures, thyroid irregularities and lowered IQ.

Fluoridation started in the United States in the 1940s as a means to reduce tooth decay. It quickly spread throughout the country; by 2006, nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population that received water from a public supply had fluoridated water coming through the taps, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Crescent City voters decided to put fluoride in the water about 50 years ago.

In November 2010, city voters  rejected a measure to remove fluoride in a 555-418 vote.

Currently the city adds .07 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, though that level fluctuates minutely. It recently peaked at .09, which is below the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold of 1.2, said City Utilities

Manager Eric Wier.

The city spends about $10,000 a year to fluoridate its water supply, which is collected from intake lines (or fingers) driven into the gravel bed of the Smith River.  Water is pumped southward to the treatment facility off Kings Valley Road, where chlorine and fluoride are added to meet state standards.

Reach Emily Jo Cureton at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it