Should Port Angeles fluoridate its water?
That’s the question that will be debated before the City Council in a public hearing Tuesday.
The hearing could be followed by a vote by the council members on whether to fluoridate.
More than 162 million Americans have fluoridated water, while around 82 million do not.
Battles over the cavity-fighting additive have raged since the 1950s, as opponents have raised environmental, libertarian and health arguments against fluoridation.
Seattle started adding fluoride in 1970. Everett, Tacoma and most of their surrounding suburbs have it.
Last week the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state’s largest water agency, voted to add fluoride to the water it supplies to 18 million customers.
But Forks is the only city in Jefferson and Clallam counties with fluoridated water.
Forks began adding fluoride to its city water in 1956.
Port Angeles put the issue before voters in an advisory ballot more than 20 years ago. It was soundly defeated.
Arguing at Tuesday’s public hearing for fluoridation will be a group headed by Dr. Steve Chapman, a Port Angeles pediatrician, dentist Todd Irwin and dental hygienist Cyndi Newman.
They hope to convince the City Council that fluoridation is important for oral health care.
The group wants the council to accept a Washington Dental Service Foundation grant which would largely cover the estimated $200,000 cost of a fluoridation system.
The city would be responsible for maintaining the system at a cost of about $10,000 annually.
Tuesday’s City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St., with the public hearing expected to start about 7 p.m.