Residents concerned with the possible fluoridation of water in seven Humboldt County areas voiced pros and cons at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District meeting Thursday morning.
While several residents spoke of benefits afforded by water fluoridation as an effective agent in fighting cavities, the majority felt health risks associated from ingesting fluoride were too great.
Arcata resident Elizabeth Finger said fluoridation of water is touted as being just and equitable, but is really potentially dangerous, used to medicate people against their will and poses risks to those with kidney and thyroid problems, also causing damage to the central nervous system.
Finger said only those able to afford filters or bottled water can opt out of drinking fluoridated water.
Other residents were apprehensive as to the amount of fluoride that is safe to ingest, citing poison control labels on tubes of toothpaste. A number of residents pointed out that while the amount of fluoride in the water supply can be controlled, dosage cannot, as water also goes into the food supply.
Several residents felt that with the large number of dental problems many face within Humboldt County, fluoridated water would benefit those without access to adequate dental services, likening fluoride to approved additives in foods. One advocated public education on dental hygiene.
Seven wholesale municipal customers providing water throughout Humboldt County expressed interest to the HBMWD in considering adding fluoride to the water supply.
HBMWD is a wholesale agency serving customers in Eureka, Arcata, Blue Lake and unincorporated areas in Humboldt County.
Currently, the cities of Eureka and Arcata fluoridate their water.
While the municipalities control the ultimate decision about water fluoridation, HBMWD will implement the process to gather public input.
The HBMWD will send its 180 retail customers a survey to gauge a “yes,” “no” or “undecided” response as to whether or not they are in support of fluoridating the water.
The HBMWD will also be requesting feedback from the municipalities regarding costs and support for water fluoridation, and are recommending they administer their own surveys to determine a demand for fluoridated water.
The HBMWD may also hold a public hearing based on the findings of the municipalities, though it has yet to determine a date.