FARMINGTON — Round two in Davis County’s fight over fluoridated water is coming up.
On Tuesday, Davis County elections clerk Pat Beckstead told the County Commission that 9,650 signatures have been certified on petitions circulated by fluoridation opponents, more than enough to put the issue on November’s ballot.
The commissioners turned over the petition to county attorneys, who will write the wording for the ballot question. It will mark the second time in two years that Davis County residents have voted on fluoridation. Fluoridation passed 52 percent to 48 percent in November 2000.
Fluoridated water has been flowing in south Davis County for more than a month. The northern section was scheduled to go online in October, but those plans are postponed now that the petition signatures have been certified.
“This is within the boundaries of the law that provides citizens an opportunity to speak,” said Commissioner Dannie McConkie.
Fluoride foes are buoyed by the success of the petition drive. They easily exceeded the nearly 8,700 names they needed to get the measure on the ballot.
“It shows a lot of people are concerned about having this kind of thing forced upon them,” Kaysville resident David Hansen said. “It isn’t necessary to have this put directly into our water systems. There are topical applications that will let people choose fluoride for themselves.”
The group is readying its campaign with a Web site, www.toxicwater.com, exploring what it sees as the dangers of fluoridation.
Citing a study from Dartmouth University, the opponents allege that too much fluoride in water can cause white spots to appear on teeth and that drinking fluoride increases levels of lead in the bloodstream.
The fluoride advocacy group Utahns for Good Dental Health is reassembling. Beth Beck, director of the Children’s Service Society of Utah, heads up the group, and says fluoride proponents have history on their side.
“These are scare tactics that they’ve used to fight this at every turn,” Beck said. “Across the country, more and more people have this in their water and it has been proven as the most effective means of preventing dental caries. Our biggest concern at this point is that people will be tired of this issue and not come out to vote.”
Medical organizations including the American Dental Association, American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control support fluoridation.