Coming on the heels of Yolo County Supervisors adopting a resolution to support fluoridating Woodland and Davis’ new water system, the Woodland City Council responded to advocates in favor of the treated water.
“It’s not as simple as you seem to think,” said Mayor Skip Davies Tuesday night, after three speakers addressed the council during public comments.
Among those speaking were First 5 Yolo Executive Director Julie Gallelo, and Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Constance Caldwell.
Earlier Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to support fluoridating area drinking water.
Davies explained the council plans to sort through the possibility of fluoridation in Woodland with the city’s Water Advisory Committee and city engineers.
“So when we move forward it will be not only a health decision but an economic decision that fits our community,” he said.
The issue of adding fluoride to Woodland’s water has been bandied about since the chemical was first introduced decades ago. In fact, the matter was brought to Woodland voters last in 1956. That measure failed.
Fluoridation support seems to be coming back with gusto in light of the pending Woodland-Davis Surface Water Project, set to be complete in 2016. Once finished, water will be pumped from the Sacramento River, treated, and piped to both cities.
For Woodland, residents will go from 100 percent ground water to 85 percent surface water.
Supporters on the Board of Supervisors agreed that adding the fluoridation equipment while the facility is being built will be cheaper than adding it later.
“There are a couple of issues,” said Davies regarding Woodland only. “Number one is that we are going to be an aquifer recovery storage system. We have to be sure that the amount of fluoride we put in the water is allowed in aquifer recovery storage. It may not be. That’s an issue.
“The second issue is that not all of our water will come from the treatment center.”
Davies went on to say that it’s not that the council does not support fluoridation — councilman and local dentist Bill Marble declared his support at an April meeting — but that it’s important for people to understand the council must go through a process before coming to a decision.
The speakers at Tuesday’s meeting listed fluoride’s positive attributes that have all been heard before.
“The levels of fluoride that prevent decay without causing adverse effects are well understood,” said Caldwell. “We do not yet have a society in which everyone has access to dental care. But everyone that lives in the city can drink the tap water.”
She went on to remind councilmen that chlorine has long been accepted in water supply to keep it free of bacteria, vitamin D has been added to milk for bone health and iodine has been added to table salt to prevent the thyroid disease goiter.
Further, it’s practice is condoned by groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, American Dental Association, American Medical Association and others, Caldwell said.
The possibility of adding fluoride to Woodland’s water supply is not condoned by a number of Democrat Facebook readers, however.
“Are you guys serious?? Fluoride is not good for you,” wrote Nephilim Anunnaki in response to supervisors approving the fluoride resolution. “Not even in small doses. That’s why there’s a warning on the toothpaste saying if swallowed to call poison control. Hello!!”
Facebook reader Ellen Thomson, who declared she is “not a happy camper” about the decision, asked why people who want fluoridation “in their own bodies” don’t just take a supplement.
Brenda Hutchinson said she’ll be drinking bottled water when she’s in town.
“So this means we all must ‘drink the kool aid’ whether we want to or not?” posed Suzanna Decker.
After the City Council’s process, the matter will likely be brought to Woodland voters, who will have the ultimate decision.