The Crescent City Council brushed off the idea of defluoridating the city’s water supply Monday.
Councilwoman Donna Westfall pushed to have the discussion item put on the agenda, but she didn’t garner much support from colleagues who agreed with Interim City Manager Michael Young’s recommendation to keep the tooth-decay-fighting mineral in the water.
“I absolutely believe in fluoride preventing tooth decay,” Councilwoman Kathryn Murray said. “And I believe we have a lot of people in this community that can’t afford (fluoride supplements).”
Westfall might continue her crusade to have fluoride taken out of the water supply.
In order to stop fluoridation, the matter would have to be put to a vote of the people. The City Council decided it would not support such a ballot measure, but if members of the public collect enough petition signatures it can be put on the ballot.
“I think that’s the next step,” Westfall said.
While she does have experience in organizing grassroots campaigns — she collected hundreds of signatures in an effort to oppose the city’s undertaking of a $42.5 million renovation of the wastewater treatment plant — it’s unclear whether Westfall will have the same groundswell for this undertaking.
At Monday’s meeting, most people who spoke supported keeping fluoride in the water, including a local dentist who seemed visibly upset that a discussion was even taking place.
“I just think there should be fluoride in the water,” said Michelle Arvonen, who has a practice in Crescent City. “From what I’ve seen professionally, I would rather have fluoride in the water.”
Arvonen denounced the studies that Westfall and others used to argue that fluoride can be toxic in large amounts and result in adverse health issues, such as liver and kidney damage and lower IQ.
“Not all those health issues are supported by what they’re reading,” Arvonen said. “Anything at any amount can kill you, including water.”
Both Westfall and city resident Jesse Salisbury, who urged Westfall to tackle the issue, cited a number of studies at the meeting that they said proved fluoride was toxic.
Salisbury gave examples of chemicals that contain fluoride, including a brand of gas that is used to kill termites. He said the lack of viable U.S. studies and the unwavering support given to the research leads him to believe it’s part of a conspiracy.
“I think it’s truth decay,” Salisbury said. “The public has been ill informed and has been uninformed and the information is being take from them.”