Fluoride Action Network

Fort Collins’ voters to decide fluoride issue

Source: The Coloradoan | December 22nd, 2004 | By Mathew Bensen
Location: United States, Colorado

Thought the issue of fluoride in Fort Collins had been deliberated, debated and decided?

Think again.

The question will appear on the April municipal ballot in the form of a proposal to do away with the long-standing practice of fluoridating the city’s water supply.

A group devoted to ending the practice – Clean Water Advocates – has presented the city with a petition containing at least 2,601 valid signatures, as required by City Charter.

The council had the option Tuesday to adopt the group’s proposed ordinance and end fluoridation outright. Instead, it opted to place the question on the ballot for voters to decide.

“This is a very important issue and one the citizens should decide – essentially once and for all,” Councilman Bill Bertschy said.

The council debated fluoride for two years before finally voting in July 2003 to continue its use.

Proponents including the Larimer County Board of Health and Health District of Northern Larimer County have called fluoride a safe and effective way to improve dental health.

Critics, meanwhile, have maintained that fluoride is toxic and fluoridation amounts to mass medication without consent.

“Fluoridation is not safe, not effective, and the time is now to protect our future,” Pati Caputo, a clinical nutritionist and president of Clean Water Advocates, told the council Tuesday. “I ask that every citizen in Fort Collins rethink water fluoridation.”

The issue has been one of the city’s most divisive – illustrated by the council’s 4-3 vote in 2003 to continue fluoridating Fort Collins Utilities water with liquid hydrofluorosilicic acid, or HFS.

Unchanged since 2003, the council again was split Tuesday.

Councilman David Roy proposed adopting Clean Water Advocates’ proposal to end fluoridation.

“Our job with water is clean and safe,” he told a small crowd City Hall. “You may believe fluoride is helpful, but I don’t believe it’s our job to provide it.”

His proposal was rejected by a 4-3 vote – with council members voting in the same position as last year.

The next vote on the issue lies with city residents.