Fluoride Action Network

A Violation of Rights

Source: Santa Monica Mirror | January 28th, 2004

Once again, it was the experts versus the people at last week’s Santa Monica City Council meeting. The experts were there to urge the Council to proceed with the fluoridation of the City water supply. It was not only safe, they said, it would improve the health of the community.

The people were there to tell the Council, again, that they didn’t want fluoride in their water. It was a violation of their right to choose what to put into their bodies, they said, and fluoride was not good for people, they said.

The thing about experts is that they often disagree with each other, and, on the fluoride question, there are experts who allege that fluoride is toxic, as well as experts who allege that it’s safe. In addition, experts often change their minds. A little wine with meals is good for you, or any wine at all is bad for you. Tea is healthy and/or unhealthy. Estrogen was vital for women of a certain age, or not.

We don’t know how many residents want fluoride in their water, and we don’t think it matters, because this is not a question that can or should be decided for all of the people by some of the people. Nor do we know whether fluoride is good or bad for people, and we’re not sure anyone does. But we believe that every one of us has the right to choose what he or she will ingest, and we also believe that the government – city, county, state or federal – does not have the right to force-feed anything to people.

The very idea is grotesque.

Mayor Richard Bloom and Council members Bob Holbrook, Herb Katz and Pam O’Connor support fluoridation, while Council members Michael Feinstein, Ken Genser and Kevin McKeown oppose it.

Whatever other talents or knowledge they may have, Bloom, a lawyer, Holbrook, a pharmacist, Katz, an architect, an O’Connor, a consultant on historic preservation, are not qualified to prescribe medications for us. In his professional capacity, Holbrook fills prescriptions, but he doesn’t write them, and lawyers, architects and consultants can’t and shouldn’t do either. And, as far as we know, no one on City staff is qualified to prescribe medications for anyone, much less everyone.

Further, for reasons that are not clear, the Council did not seek the advice of its own Environmental Task Force before it approved the fluoridation of City water.

One of the arguments used by the fluoride proponents is that there are some residents who can’t afford regular dental care and therefore need fluoridated water. But if the City proceeds and fluoridates the municipal water supply, people who don’t want to drink it, for whatever reason, will be forced to pay for a commodity they cannot use, and to buy bottled water or install water purifiers that they may not be able to afford.

If the City believes the fluoride is good for people, then it should supply it to the people who want it – in some medium other than the City water supply.