After two years of debate, the Juneau Assembly finally decided Monday to stop adding fluoride to the city’s water.
The Assembly voted to stop fluoridation of the city’s water last month, but Assembly member Bob Doll put forward a motion Monday to reconsider that decision. The motion passed 6-3. But when Doll proposed a motion to continue putting fluoride in the water, it failed 6-3.
“Every responsible authority in the fields of medicine and dentistry and public health – on the local level, on the state level and national level – has assured us of the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation,” Doll said before the votes were cast.
One of those opposing fluoridation was Assembly member Randy Wanamaker.
“I think this issue has been discussed enough,” he said adding that many medical experts are against providing fluoride to infants. “The medical community is not unified on this. I think I prefer the cautious approach.”
The issue arose nearly two years ago when it was discovered that a public works employee had stopped adding fluoride to drinking water because it was suspected of eroding city pipes. When area doctors and dentists learned the program had ceased, they successfully argued that it be resumed. A task force appointed by the Assembly to study fluoridation was split on the issue.
Those against fluoridation of the city’s water were as follows: Randy Wanamaker, David Stone, Merrill Sanford, Sara Chambers, Jonathan Anderson and Bruce Botelho.
In other business Monday, the Assembly voted to increase the amount of money available to produce bid documents for the Auke Bay Commercial Loading Facility. The documents were supposed to cost $270,000, but will now cost $410,635. The increase was due to several issues, including environmental concerns brought up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bid will have to include engineering surveys that tend to be expensive, Mayor Bruce Botelho said.
The Assembly also approved spending $75,000 to improve the Jensen-Olsen Arboretum, just north of the Shrine of St. Therese. Repairs will be done to the building’s roof to stop leaking. The repairs will be paid for with an endowment left to the city.