A Fond du Lac city councilman will spend his last month in office promoting a referendum on the fluoride additive in the city’s drinking water.
Bill Turner, who is finishing his sixth and final year in office due to term limitations, says the citizens of Fond du Lac should have a choice on whether their water is fluoridated.
Turner intends to bring a resolution to the City Council table March 27. With council’s blessing, the referendum could go to the citizens in the November 2002 election.
“I think it’s time to ask the people of Fond du Lac what would they prefer, instead of mass-medicating them without their approval at all,” Turner said Monday afternoon.
Turner is attempting to secure a “binding” referendum, rather than an “advisory” one, which would place the issue, ultimately, into the hands of council.
“I think it would be good for the November ballot (as opposed to the April election) — it would give the people of Fond du Lac plenty of time to debate the matter. …,” he said.
Meanwhile, Diane Cappozzo, health officer for Fond du Lac County, said fluoridation has been touted for years as one of public health’s greatest accomplishments.
In fact, she said, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, in December, called fluoridation the “cornerstone of caries (cavity) prevention in the U.S.”
Turner says fluoride hasn’t been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, but Cappozzo disputes his statement.
She pointed out that prescriptions for fluoride routinely are given for those in rural areas who do not receive fluoride in their water source.
“In the U.S., you can’t get a prescription that (hasn’t gained FDA approval),” she said.
Cappozzo said substantial research has been conducted on the use of fluoride — research that shows beneficial effects.
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released Feb. 22 show 89.3 percent of Wisconsinites drink fluoridated water. The figure compares with 66 percent nationwide.
Cappozzo pointed out that Campbellsport, where she resides, has enough naturally-occurring fluoride that an additive is not necessary.
Turner contends that fluoride is a toxic chemical created from industrial waste in the smokestacks of fertilizer companies.
“It doesn’t make sense that toothpaste and mouthwash, on the outside (of the product), say not to swallow it,” he said. “Why are we swallowing (fluoride additives in water)?”
Turner said a decision to add fluoride was made five decades ago by three commissioners who were leading the city.
“I’ve lived in Fond du Lac all my life,” Turner said. “I can’t say it kept me from (needing) fillings. I’ve probably got seven or eight of them.”