Thanks to San Antonio activist Henry Rodriguez, the League of United Latin American Citizens took a strong swipe at the fluoridation of public drinking-water supplies in July. But as quickly as his proffered resolution against the forced “mass medication” of the public while potentially harming minority populations and “sensitive subpopulations” received an unanimous vote of support at the national convention in Cincinatti, Ohio, the resolution was suspiciously removed from LULAC’s website. That sparked Rodriguez, head of LULAC Zapatistas Concilio 4383, back into action, agitating for it to be posted again. “Usually we don’t air our dirty laundry, and I don’t mean to, but that was something that pretty much upset me,” Rodriguez told QueQue this week.
Rodriguez was one of many who resisted efforts to add fluoride to San Antonio’s drinking water when it was presented as a public referendum twice before finally passing with 52.6 percent of the vote in 2002. “I always considered it a civil-rights violation. I consider it a poison,” he said. “Plenty of people can back me up on that.” What he objects to most is that while none other than the Centers for Disease Control warns against mixing baby formula with fluoridated water to prevent mild dental fluorosis, poor families frequently can’t afford the water treatment to remove the mineral.
LULAC Executive Director Brent A. Wilkes makes no bones about pulling the resolution, telling QueQue that he got concerned after he started being approached to take on battles against immunizations and compulsory education and wanted to investigate if the resolution that prompted this new attention had passed legally in the first place — which they determined it, in fact, had. And while he noted that the “official position of the organization is to support the resolution,” Wilkes boiled the matter down one with scientists on one side and “conspiracy theorists” on the other. “The opponents [of fluoridation] are a more eclectic group of individuals who pursue their policy agenda in a way that’s more akin to the Tea Party or the folks with Occupy Wall Street,” he said. “It is not a typical issue for us.”
But while Rodriguez got the resolution passed in Ohio unanimously and without debate, don’t expect a public campaign to remove the mineral (typically hydrofluosilicic acid, an industrial byproduct of U.S. fertilizer production) locally. For now, Rodriquez is focused on networking nationally with other activists on the issue. Then, who knows?