HARPER – Citizen concerns were enough to ax a Harper City Council plan to fluoridate the municipal water supply, which the council voted to suspend by a 7-1 vote Tuesday evening.
Harper Mayor Ron Holt said the plan had been in the works for almost two years, but discussion following a May 14 public meeting was enough to make the council reconsider.
“We actually had very few citizens come forward to express that they really wanted fluoride,” Holt said. “A lot said just the reverse.”
The fluoridation would have come from a $15,000 grant through United Methodist Health Ministries, which would have paid for the equipment and the first year of materials, though the city would have had to pay for the labor to maintain it.
The city has about 800 hookups to municipal water, provides service to the tiny neighboring town of Spivey, and manages two rural water districts, all of which would have received the fluoride treatment, Holt said.
Harper resident Brian Ede said he’d read the notice in the Harper Advocate, but until a friend convinced him to take active opposition to it, he thought there wasn’t anything to be done.
“I thought it was a done deal,” Ede said.
Once he realized it wasn’t, he approached the city council to request the public meeting, which the council granted. He and Steve Godfrey then went around with a petition and researched their cause. Representatives from the Fluoride Action Network helped out with materials and information against water fluoridation.
“Basically, there are more reasons not to have it than to have it,” Ede said. “The only reason to have it is that it’s supposed to strengthen your teeth, but you can get that from brushing.”
Hydrofluosilicic acid, used to fluoridate water, is manufactured as a fertilizer byproduct, Ede said, and is believed to cause thyroid problems in the elderly and may be linked to bone cancer and learning disabilities.
Harper residents added 250 signatures to the petition against fluoridation and, Ede said, 57 of the 65 registered voters in Spivey petitioned against it, as well.