About two-thirds of Hastings voters rejected the use of fluoride in the city’s water system in Tuesday’s general election.
Marvin “Butch” Hughes, a local organizer against fluoride, said the outcome showed that people were opposed to putting something in the water supply that is not proven. He said there haven’t been any tests to prove that the additives used in fluoridation are safe.
“It’s not that fluoride doesn’t make our teeth harder, it’s just that there are so many side effects,” he said. “It affects so many things that it becomes a problem. We really believe there’s a lot of health issues here.”
Sixty-seven percent of the public voted to not add fluoridate to the city’s water with 6,473 votes, with 3,217 votes in favor of the substance, or 33 percent.
Earlier in the year, a state law was passed to require communities of more than 1,000 people to fluoridate their water or adopt an ordinance against it by June 1, 2010.
A second ballot question addressed the addition of fluorosilicic acid or other fluorine-containing substances to the public water supply, which was disapproved by 6,535 voters, or 68 percent. Thirty-two percent, 3,051 votes, were cast in favor of adding fluorosilicic acid.
A third issue added to the ballot with the fluoride issue asked voters to adopt a Hastings Safe Water Drinking Act, which passed by 71 percent or 6,538 votes. Twenty-nine percent, or 2,732 votes, were against the act.
Hughes said the safe water act was the most important addition for the safety of drinking water.
“If you want to add anything to our water, you have to prove that it’s safe,” he said. “We just really believe that Hastings deserves a safety net.”
Jessica Meeske, a local dentist who has been supportive of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, said she was let down by the rejection of fluoride, especially since it is recommended by so many health care professionals.
“It’s disappointing because we see so many kids suffering from dental pain,” she said.