Several people who want Salina to quit adding fluoride to its water presented a petition to the Salina City Commission on Monday night.

In addition to their previous objections that fluoride in water is ineffective at fighting cavities and causes various health problems, they said they’d recently found that the fluoride Salina uses could come from China, which they said is another reason to question its safety.

In response to a question from commissioner Jon Blanchard, Sheryl Musfelt said she’d still oppose fluoridation even if the fluoride came from a U.S. source. That caused commissioner Aaron Householter to ask her why the source was relevant.

Fluoride opponents presented an informal petition signed by 382 people opposed to fluoridation, though they admitted they hadn’t confirmed that all of those who signed live in Salina. In all, about a dozen opponents of fluoridation spoke to the commission.

Loren Hough said his father, who grew up in Salina and has consumed Salina water his entire life, recently lost a foot to diabetes.

Hough said he wanted a sample of the fluoride the city was using, so he could send it to a lab for analysis. If the analysis shows the fluoride contains heavy metals — and if heavy metals cause diabetes — Hough said, “we’ll have a case, and we’ll start with the person who put it in the water and go up from there.”

Ray Hruska asked commissioners if they had followed up on their pledge to research fluoridation on their own following a public hearing on the issue in November. He then asked them to put in writing what research they had done and what they had found.

“I’m not going to do that,” Householter said. “It’s not my job to write out something ad nauseam about my decisions. Let’s face it, what we did is Google it — we’re not scientists.”

Get a petition

Householter said that if there is enough support for ending fluoridation, that its opponents should get a petition together asking that the issue be put to a public vote. Hruska countered that the commission should stop fluoridation and let those who want the water fluoridated circulate a petition and call for a vote to put it back.

Householter also challenged many of the claims made by the fluoride opponents.

Hough said 98 percent of Europe doesn’t have fluoridated water, but Householter said — after a few minutes of research on his iPad during the meeting — that in much of Europe, milk and/or salt is fluoridated instead.

“When you come up here, don’t give us stuff that’s so easy to refute,” Householter said.

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Note from FAN: Only a handful, at most, of European countries add fluoride to salt. In these countries there is a choice between fluoridated salt and non-fluoridated salt – similar to the U.S. where one has the choice to buy iodized salt or salt without iodine. Milk fluoridation are school-based programs.

According to a 2009 WHO report on milk fluoridation, authored by fluoridation proponents:

Milk fluoridation, as an alternative vehicle for automatic population-directed administration of fluoride, began in Switzerland some fifty years ago. In 1988 the first community based scheme was introduced in Bulgaria and reached some 15,000 children. By 2000 this figure had increased to 114,000 children as programmes were introduced in four other countries. More recently there has been further expansion particularly in Thailand and Chile and there are now 800,000 children in five countries participating in the international programme. As milk fluoridation mostly targets the child population, milk fluoridation schemes have been established within the context of school health programmes (WHO, 2003b), and programmes for healthy diet and nutrition…