Advocates made passionate pleas for preserving and removing fluoride from the city’s water Thursday at a League of Women forum at Durango City Hall.
Jim Forleo with Clean Water Durango and Sherrod Beall with the No on 1A Campaign answered an array of questions about fluoride from the audience about its effects.
Residents will be asked whether they would like to end water fluoridation within the city of Durango during the April 4 election.
A “yes” vote on ballot question 1A will remove fluoride from the water and a “no” vote will preserve the city’s practice of adding fluoride.
Residents will also choose between five Durango City Council candidates to fill three seats. Melissa Youssef, Dave McHenry, Tom Eskew, Chris Bettin and incumbent Councilor Dean Brookie also outlined their opinions during the televised forum on issues such as secondary housing units, paying for new infrastructure and the future of the Mason Center on Third Avenue and 12th Street.
During the fluoride debate, Forleo and Beall described contrasting versions of the same additive.
Forleo described fluoride as a toxic drug responsible for causing lower IQs, thyroid disease, bone cancer and many other side effects, while not improving oral health.
Tooth decay has been declining in both communities that fluoridate and those that don’t, he argued.
“Durango residents want a choice of whether to receive a drug every day in our water,” he said.
For low-income children, fluoridated water may be the only form of dental care they receive, and it is especially important for those under 5 years old, Beall said.
Living in a community with fluoridated water is one of the top factors that contribute to oral health, and the naturally occurring fluoride in the water is not sufficient, she said.
“Once fluoride is taken out of the water, the rate of dental decay increases,” she said.
The council candidate discussion was less divisive, with the candidates finding common ground on several issues. Secondary housing units, once divisive in the community, drew general approval from the candidates as long as they are regulated…