Fluoride Action Network

Let voters have say on fluoride

Source: Daily Herald | August 6th, 2000 | Editorial
Location: United States, Utah

It looks like Utah County may be the odd county out when it comes to putting fluoridation on the ballot.

Salt Lake and Davis counties have already agreed to put the fluoridation issue before voters in November, and Weber County is on the verge of making the decision.

Utah County is the only remaining Wasatch Front county that is still sitting on the fence as far as the fluoride issue.

And that is not an appropriate position to be in on an issue of public importance.

The sticking point appears to be County Commissioner Gary R. Herbert.

Herbert has questioned whether a county-wide vote would be appropriate in Utah County, as most cities have separate water systems.

The Council of Governments, comprised of the valley’s mayors, have unanimously approved a resolution asking the county to put the question on the ballot, but Herbert said he wanted the mayors to consult with their respective councils before making such a request.

It would seem that Herbert is afraid of the anti-fluoride forces out in the community and of losing favor with them, especially since he is up for re-election, although he is running unopposed.

We think the county should just put the question on the ballot and give people a chance to have a say on the issue.

Putting fluoride on the ballot is not an endorsement of the issue. Instead, it says that the county is willing to let the people have a say on whether they want this additive put into their water system.

The state Legislature this year paved the way for such ballots, giving counties the right to put the question before voters.

Once the question is put on the ballot, proponents and opponents will have a chance to make their cases to the voters.

The public can weigh the evidence, including fluoride’s 50-year track record as an effective means of preventing tooth decay in other states, and opponents’ claims that it causes health problems and people’s rights would be violated if the water system is used to administer fluoride.

We notice the opponents of fluoridation are also opposed to having this on the ballot. This flies in the face of their arguments about infringing on people’s rights.

By pressuring the county government to keep this issue off the ballot, they are imposing their will upon the public by depriving them of the legal right to decide for themselves.

We think the question should go on the ballot, and the public should have the chance to carefully weigh the evidence on both sides, without succumbing to emotions, and then decide once and for all whether fluoride should be in our drinking water.