The two doctors who spearheaded the effort to add fluoride to Philomath’s drinking water 25 years ago are now taking action to bring it back.
Dr. David Grube said the group – which doesn’t have a name yet – will meet next Monday with the intention of putting the issue before the public to decide upon.
“The city took a straw poll, and of the respondents, 70 percent said they did want fluoride in the water, and yet the city council ignored them,” Grube said.
At its Aug. 8 meeting, the Philomath City Council announced that the city would stick to its earlier decision to de-fluoridate the water supply. The council originally voted on the issue in May and has since received numerous public comments on the issue.
City manager Randy Kugler said the city had been adding hydrofluosilicic acid to treat its drinking water, and did not replace it after using up the last canister in June. He declined to comment on the issue.
Philomath mayor Ken Schaudt was not available for comment for this story, and did not respond to the Lund Report’s requests for comment for a previous story on this issue.
The Aug. 8 meeting minutes have not yet been posted to the city’s website. According to an article in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Schaudt read a list of 10 reasons he stuck by his prior vote to discontinue the use of fluoride in drinking water – chief among them freedom of choice, as well as environmental concerns and the potential unknown health effects of fluoride.
“He ignored all the doctors in town and the scientists,” Grube said of Schaudt. “He also said he didn’t think the citizens of the community were smart enough to be able to vote on it.”
After Schaudt read his list of 10 reasons, he asked the other councilors if they had changed their minds on the subject. Only one, Angie Baca, said she was in favor of restoring fluoride to the city water after hearing testimony at the previous two meetings.
“I want to applaud the city council of Philomath for looking at the issue objectively,” said Kim Kaminski, executive director of Oregon Citizens for Safe Drinking Water. “It’s classified as a drug. It’s the only drug we put in the water to treat people, rather than put in the water to make it potable.”
She added that the organization has received phone calls from people in other cities in the state who would like their communities to revisit their fluoridation policies.
Approximately 25 percent of Oregonians drink fluoridated water, and the state is ranked 48th in the nation in terms of the percentage of people who receive fluoride in their tap water. Kaminski said of the Oregon communities that do fluoridate their drinking water are in the mid-Willamette Valley, and that her recent phone calls have come from people in towns in that area.