This year’s grand jury wants the city of Napa to fluoridate its drinking water and combine its Public Works Department with Napa Sanitation District.
Don’t hold your breath.
Napa Sanitation District’s board of directors, headed by Mayor Jill Techel, flatly rejected the consolidation recommendation last week. Tuesday night the City Council nixed fluoridation.
The grand jury said fluoridation would provide a major health benefit to city residents. The savings in dental bills from fewer cavities would be greater than the annual cost of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, jurors said.
Further, the grand jury said state law mandates that Napa, as a city with more than 10,000 population, offer fluoridation.
In a staff report, Assistant Public Works Director Phil Brun said it would cost more than $1 million to adapt the water system for fluoride, yet this expensive investment would benefit only a few.
Less than 1 percent of city drinking water is actually consumed, the Brun said. “Of this 1 percent, only a small percentage includes children that get the most benefit from fluoride in the water. Of that small percentage, an even smaller percentage is children that don’t get fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste and mouthwash,” he reported.
It would be more cost-effective to reach children who might benefit from fluoride through health and dental clinics, Brun said.
Brun noted that fluoridation is a controversial issue nationally. “It has passionate supporters on both sides of the issue,” he said.
As for the state mandating that the city fluoridate, the law imposes this requirement only if an outside source of funding can be found for a fluoridation system and operating costs, according to the city.
The council unanimously rejected the grand jury’s recommendation that the city apply for grants to install fluoridation equipment in its three water treatment plants within six month. The water department has projects of higher priority, city staff said…