Fluoride Action Network

Fond du Lac Council will decide if fluoridation goes to referendum

Source: The Reporter | April 9th, 2002 | by Laurie Ritger

Fond du Lac city councilmen will decide Wednesday whether to authorize a referendum on fluoridation of the local water supply.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the Legislative Chambers of the City County Government Center. The public is welcome.

Outgoing Councilman Bill Turner announced earlier this year that he would propose a referendum to allow voters to decide if the city should continue fluoridating the municipal water supply.

Fluoride has been added to Fond du Lac’s since July 1950.

In 1992, Safe Water Association Inc., filed a lawsuit challenging an ordinance that was amended earlier that year.

Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Peter Grimm dismissed the group’s claims and declared the fluoridation ordinance valid.

Safe Water Association appealed the decision, but it was upheld by Court of Appeals in 1994.

Fond du Lac County Board of Health chairman Dr. Warren Post asked councilmen in a letter not to bring the issue to a referendum.

“The Fond du Lac County Board of Health encourages you to (protect the health of your constituents) by not bringing this issue into public debate, which will become emotionally charged and unscientific in nature,” Post wrote.

“The Board of Health feels removing fluoridation from the public water supply would most adversely affect children, especially those without ready access to dental care.”

Richard Matthew of Fond du Lac, a longtime opponent of fluoridation, said he has research from “world-renowned scientists” who believe that artificial water fluoridation dramatically increases cancer and hip fracture rates, suppresses immune system response and thyroid function and causes chromosomal damage.

(A letter to the editor from Matthew appears on today’s Opinion Page A9).

Dale Paczkowski, water operations manager for the city, said the natural concentration of fluoride in Fond du Lac is 0.4 parts per million. Additional fluoride is applied at the rate of 0.8 parts per million to bring the adjusted concentration to the recommended level of 1.2 parts per million.

“This amount is extremely small in comparison with other units of measurement,” he said. “One part per million is equivalent to one inch in 16 miles, one minute in two years and one cent in $10,000.”

Paczkowski said the cost of adding fluoride to the city’s water is less than 50 cents per household per year or about 17 cents per person per year.

A simple majority of four of the seven council members is needed to put the issue on a referendum ballot.

At least two councilmen — Turner and James Nintzel — indicated support for a referendum at a City Council forum held prior to last Tuesday’s election.