On Tuesday, August 13, 2002 at 12:30, at the entrance to city hall with more than 30 supporters in attendance, three members of Santa Maria Valley Citizens for Safe Drinking Water held a press conference to announce their filing of a “Notice of Intent to Circulate” a petition to place the Santa Maria Safe Drinking Water Initiative on a city-wide ballot.
The Safe Drinking Water Initiative prohibits the addition of any substance to the public water supply for the purpose of treating people, rather than the water, that has not been specifically approved by the U.S. FDA for safety and effectiveness in accordance with health claims made.
In addition, the proposed voter-created ordinance prohibits adding any substance to the public drinking water for treating humans that contains contaminants that exceed the California and U.S. public health goals.
Cynthia Schaaf, R.N., one of the submitters of the “Notice of Intent to Circulate,” says, “I don’t know why anyone would say yes to using our most precious public resource for any purpose other than our enjoyment and our need for safe, pure water–much less to distribute medication. If a doctor handed me medication with the instructions, ‘Take as much or as little as you like, anytime, and give it to anyone with any medical condition,’ I would be appalled. Yet that is exactly what our city council did when they voted unanimously to medicate our water, without first determining exactly what substance will be used, and what dosage, if any, is safe for everyone at every level of consumption.”
“I think voters of this town will agree we shouldn’t let anyone come here claiming a magical fix for a complex social problem. We need proof that the substance we’re intended to ingest for the rest of our lives has met the test for safety and effectiveness by a qualified agency, and doesn’t contain further contaminants that our society is already trying to avoid.”
“The council’s claim that they had no choice is untrue. None of the 115 cities in California that have decided not to fluoridate have been sued or forced to comply. The contract with the state requires each city to vote to pass its own resolution, making the city, not the state, responsible, and furthermore, requires fluoridation only when funds are available. Our council signed a 10-year contract,with one year of funding. Guess who’ll pay the additional cost?”
“In my opinion,” states Angela Schott, another signer of the notice, “all five city council members completely ignored the facts presented to them showing that the substance they’ve decided to add to our water provides no significant benefit to anyone by swallowing it. They passed a resolution to go forward with their plans anyway, saying repeatedly that they would not consider any scientific evidence. We asked the council to pass the same ordinance we are proposing now to assure us that they are not just taking industry’s toxic waste and dumping it in our water, and all five council members refused.”
“We have enough concern in this community with pesticide runoffs and other everyday exposures to contaminants without having to look over our shoulder to protect ourselves from our own representatives. In the aftermath of September 11, we’re already hearing talk of mass medicating our entire nation’s water supply with substances like Cipro, a fluorinated quinine, even though a number of fluorinated drugs such as Baycol recently have been pulled from the market for adverse effects. Do we have to fight one-by-one the addition of every drug our city council puts on their own personal ‘Sounds good to me!’ list?”
Cecelia Lopez, a teacher at Taylor Elementary and third signer of the notice, comments, “The very children that are being used as the reason to support adding medication to our water are the most vulnerable to any side effects from excessive amounts. When you add to that the limited income the indigent have to escape exposures from the public water supply, we’d better do more than “believe” something is safe and effective. It had better be proven so for all ages, all health conditions, and no matter how much water people drink. One council member suggested that everything is a “risk,” implying that more contaminants simply don’t matter. That is callous and unthinking.”
“And I can’t think of a plan much worse than building a fluoridation plant at a time when we want to increase our national and local security, not our risks. We’re building a delivery system with the substance right there that could poison the entire population through either accident or an act of terrorism. Recently in Dublin, California, a fluoride pump malfunctioned and 23 people became ill, with 3 going to the hospital. If the dose they’d received had been higher, it could have been much worse.”
SMV Citizens for Safe Drinking Water can be reached through our hotline number: (805) 937-1915.