Fluoride Action Network

Billings’ fluoride foes protest use of chemical

Source: Billings Gazette | May 7th, 2002 | by Jaci Webb
Location: United States, Montana

Clayton Fiscus of the Cancer-Prevention Coalition says if you are wondering whether to support adding fluoride to Billings water, consider one fact: The warning label on fluoride toothpaste.

“It says right there on the Crest toothpaste label not to eat it and if you do to consult a physician immediately,” Fiscus said.

Fiscus and about 12 others staged an informational picket Monday evening at the Parmly Billings Library where the Billings City Council was conducting a work session. Carrying homemade signs with such slogans as, “Fight for poison-free water,” the group handed out literature about fluoridation and collected signatures on a petition against fluoridation.

Sarah Rollins, who helped organize the picket, said the people fluoridation is supposed to help most – those with low incomes – are the ones it will hurt the worst.

“This is more harmful to poor people,” Rollins said. “Their rights are infringed upon. They can’t afford to buy the filter to take the fluoride out.”

Rollins said that fluoride is a documented poison and that there haven’t been enough studies done on its effect on human beings to allow cities to add it to their water systems. She said low-income people already have lowered immune systems because of poor diet and they don’t need to ingest anything that could further compromise their immune system.

“If they want to help poor people, dentists should accept Medicaid,” Rollins said.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the issue May 13 when it will also vote on a resolution authorizing the introduction of fluoride into the city’s water system. City staff has recommended approval of the resolution.

Council member Mark Kennedy has said he believes adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water is a health and public safety matter that the council should address. The council could decide to add fluoride to the water without putting it to a vote of the people, but some council members say they are concerned that such an emotional issue should be put to a public vote. Billings voters have twice turned down measures to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water. Council member Dave Brown has said that the matter should be put to a public vote.

“I really think if we’re going to put another chemical in the water, people ought to be able to vote on it,” Brown said at a recent council meeting.

Brown said Monday night that the council is divided in its support for fluoridation and that while most of the medical community is in favor of adding fluoride to city water to help prevent tooth decay, some people still have concerns with it.