LONGMEADOW – Undeterred by four previous failures to rid the town’s drinking water of fluoride, an activist group has submitted 10 warrant articles it claims will mitigate against the legal and health threats posed by the chemical additive.
Longmeadow Citizens for Clean Water authored the warrant articles that were officially included in the May 10 Town Meeting warrant at Monday night’s Select Board meeting. The fluoride measures represent almost a third of the 32 articles that will appear on the warrant.
“We basically recognized the intractability of water fluoridation in Longmeadow,” said Bruce Randall, a former Water and Sewer Commissioner and one of the group’s most vocal members.
“These (warrant articles) are our attempt to continue the practice in a way that reduces the town’s legal and health liabilities,” Randall added.
Supporters of water fluoridation have maintained that the additive retards tooth decay and does not pose a health problem when ingested in measured amounts.
One of the Clean Water warrant articles will look familiar to anyone who has attended a Town Meeting in the last two years. It has been defeated four times. Article 23 states:
“To see if the Town will vote to petition the General Court for passage of special legislation which would authorize the placement of the following referendum question on the ballot for the election of town officers in 2006: ‘Shall fluoridation of the public water supply for domestic use in the town of Longmeadow be discontinued?'”
Randall predicted supporters of fluoridation will jump at the chance to vote for this referendum, which would settle the matter once and for all.
“They could say they had a mandate,” Randall said.
Other articles call on the town to institute various measures designed to mitigate against fluoride’s ill-effects. They include:
Increasing the water and sewer rates to create a fund to reimburse residents who install fluoride removal systems in their homes.
The creation of a legal fund to pay for litigation that may arise from fluoridation.
A requirement that all restaurants that use town water post a notice alerting patrons of the presence of fluoride in the water.
A requirement that the Board of Health publish a response to “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation,” a publication that was submitted by Longmeadow Citizens for Clean Water.