Fluoride Action Network

Resident seeks to join fluoride lawsuit

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted on October 2nd, 2003

WATSONVILLE — Arguing that he may be harmed if the city fluoridates its water, resident Nick Bulaich is seeking to join a lawsuit filed against the state.

The city filed the suit in April to block the state Department of Health services from enforcing an order to fluoridate the city water supply.

“The city has actually made a good case,” said Bulaich, who filed a petition in Superior Court on Wednesday. “At the same time I felt I had a responsibility to ensure everything was covered.”

The suit seeks to settle whether local or state law takes precedence in the issue of water fluoridation, and its outcome could affect communities throughout California. A trial date is expected to be set Nov. 14.

The California Dental Association and its charitable arm, the California Dental Association Foundation, have already weighed in on the suit. At risk, they say, is a decades-long effort to improve the dental health of Californians.

Fluoride is widely accepted as a tooth decay preventative, and is used in toothpaste and rinses. Placing it in water supplies increases exposure, a factor that’s particularly important in low-income areas, backers argue.

Bulaich is basing his petition partly on foes’ contention there’s insufficient research to prove the benefits or discount the possible harm from distributing fluoride through community water systems.

He also questions whether the city has met the conditions which would trigger enactment of the state law.

Bulaich said he knew little about fluoridation nearly two years ago when the City Council accepted a grant to introduce the chemical in the water, but he found a presentation by foes convincing. He did his own research and subsequently helped lead a successful ballot measure aimed at halting the plan.

The measure doesn’t specially ban fluoride, but rather prohibits the addition of chemicals to treat humans that haven’t been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. It also bans the introduction of contaminated substances.

Fluoride isn’t FDA approved, and the compound commonly used in water supplies is contaminated with toxic chemicals, Bulaich said.

* Contact Donna Jones at djones@santa-cruz.com.