Juneau residents succeeded in repealing a fluoridation ordinance in their city, and now Ronald Lee Warner II is trying to do the same in Fairbanks.
A divided Fairbanks City Council voted in March to continue adding fluoride to the water supply, rejecting a measure to repeal the ordinance.
Councilwoman Vivian Stiver introduced the ordinance to repeal the 48-year-old practice of fluoridating city water.
Some borough residents are now joining in on the city debate because their former water supplier, College Utilities, merged with Golden Heart Utilities and they are now receiving fluoridated water.
“This will be a city initiative; however, many borough residents will be watching closely because they purchase city water, or drink city water if they come to town to work or eat,” Warner said.
Warner believes the quality of Fairbanks water will be significantly improved.
“This will mark Fairbanks as a community that pays attention to science,” he said.
The American Dental Association reports that 67 percent of American communities have public fluoridated water.
The main controversy with fluoride stems from sodium fluoride, the main ingredient in rat poison. Fluoride in large doses can be toxic.
However, at an average of 1.0 parts per million, the amount of fluoride used in public water systems is well below toxic levels, according to a statement released by Golden Heart Utilities.
Studies and research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by the American Dental Association have shown fluoridation to be one of the most effective public health measures to decrease dental-related illnesses and the costs associated with it. But the debate behind fluoridation of a public water supply, for Warner, isn’t necessarily about the potential health impacts on the body but rather on the lack of an option to have fluoridated water.
“It’s basically government-mandated medication, and there are many of us who don’t agree with that,” he said.
Warner submitted an initiative application to the city clerk earlier this week signed by 10 sponsors.
After sponsoring signatures are verified by the city, the 10 initiative sponsors will have 90 days to collect signatures from city residents petitioning that the fluoride issue be placed on the October ballot. The city of North Pole and the University of Alaska Fairbanks do not fluoridate their water supply.
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