Voters in a small Branch County city will consider an unusual ballot question Tuesday: whether to continue adding fluoride to their water.
Grand Rapids was the first city in the nation to add fluoride to its water in January 1945. Now, it’s nearly standard for cities in the U.S. to fluoridate. It’s widely considered a positive health measure to prevent tooth decay.
Tuesday’s election will determine whether Bronson, a small city southwest of Coldwater, will keep fluoridating its water supply.
Bronson resident Michelle Sanford said she’s not worried about whether fluoride affects her children’s health.
“It don’t think there’s a big concern as far as that goes,” she said.
She said she wishes her kids would drink more water.
“It’s better for them than the soda that’s sitting on the table,” she said.
Bronson City Councilwoman Janet Cox disagrees. That’s why she pushed to put the issue on the ballot.
She goes to a spring in Indiana to get her water.
“That’s what I drink and give it to the grandkids,” she said.
She refuses to drink the city water because of the fluoride.
“I think it’s toxic,” she said.
She thinks it causes more harm than help and believes it can cause cancer.
According to the Sturgis Journal, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency recently voted in favor of fluoride in water five to one, saying it was a “safe” and “efficient public health measure.”
Cox doesn’t buy it.
“Nope,” she said. “Why take a chance?”
But many in Bronson don’t share her opinion, and many who spoke to 24 Hour News 8 also didn’t know they would be voting on the issue.
“This is the first I’ve even heard about it,” Sanford said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s just kind of crazy to be on there.”
The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. You can get results as they come in on woodtv.com, and results, analysis and reaction on 24 Hour News 8 from 10 p.m. to midnight.