MT. PLEASANT – After an unsuccessful attempt to pass an ordinance dealing with water quality in 1997, another petition was submitted Tuesday afternoon.
“First, we have to count the signatures, to make sure that they have at least 500,” said Robert Flynn, city clerk. “Then we have to check them over and make sure that they (the signatures) are legal.”
The petition, submitted by Alan Gamble and Jessica Roth, would require any substances added to the water to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The chemicals also would not be allowed to exceed the limits set up by the United States Maximum Contaminant Level Goals,or the state of Michigan Public Health goals, whichever is more protective.
“We have looked at fluoride in particular, but this petition would cover everything that could be added to the public water, with the exception of chlorine,” Gamble said.
Gamble, who owns Greentree Natural Grocery, 214 N. Franklin St., said if the amendment was approved, fluoridation of water is the only current practice that would be affected.
“(Fluoridation) is kind of a blacklisted issue, something that nobody wants to talk about because it has a tendency to be a very divisive issue,” he said.
Jessica Roth, who also helped circulate the petitions, got involved in the issue after taking some classes at Herbs Etc.
Fluoride, which is added to water to help strengthen the dental hygiene of the public, has adverse affects on general health, Gamble said.
A handout distributed by the petitioners cites proof from several sources that people may be in a position to become over-fluoridated.
“Small children have a great risk, because they have grown up drinking the fluoridated water,” Gamble said.
Hydrofluosilicic Acid, which is bought from Cargill Fertilizer Corporation through LCI Limited, is used to fluoridate the water.
“(Material Safety Data Sheets) for that acid indicate that it has trace levels of everything from arsenic to lead to mercury, and the sheet itself say that there is no safe level for either arsenic or mercury,” Gamble said. “And we are adding this stuff to our water without telling the public about what is in this stuff.”
Flynn said it would take awhile before he knew if the signatures all were valid.
“First we have to make sure that the dates on the signatures are not dated after the petitioner signed it,” he said.
If there are not 500 legal signatures, Flynn said he would contact the petitioners and give them a few more days to gather the signatures they need.
Depending on how the City Commission decides to act, the amendment could be on the ballot for the elections in November.