With city council elections around the corner, the controversy surrounding the use of fluoride in public water systems is picking up steam as local activists push their views on the issue.
Proposition 1, a city charter amendment for the upcoming Nov. 3 election, received a lot of support this week as activists for and against the controversy engulfed the LBJ mall at Texas State to engage students to vote on the issue.
“I want people to know that what they are putting in our water is not dental fluoride, but industrial waste,” said Dan Lyon, citizen and activist against fluoride. “It also contains cadmium lead and all kinds of metals we don’t need in our bodies.”
According to an American Dental Association, fluoridation in public water has improved the dental health of tens of millions of Americans in the past 60 years.
Fluoridated water prevents tooth decay, and officials with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention have proclaimed that this is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. The U.S. Public Health Service said the recommended optimal fluoride concentration in community water systems is .7 milligrams per liter.
“When this controversy first hit the city, a lot of people didn’t really know how to react or think about the issue,” said Shane Scott, Place 6 city council incumbent. “When the issue was brought up, I suggested we stop the use of fluoride in the water until we can figure out what is best for the city.”
Scott said citizens and students should educate themselves on both sides of the fluoride argument and vote according to their findings.
Frank Arredondo, Place 5 candidate for city council, said he is in favor of fluoride in the water system because it brings benefits to tooth development and prevents decay.
“Fluoride, I believe, is essential in most communities because it addresses the need, especially in young children, who don’t have access to health care,” Arredondo said. “This debate has been going on for years.”
The opponents of fluoride say it is poisonous to the body, Arredondo said. Yet, he said, the facts state otherwise.
According to fluoridealert.com, studies have shown that fluoride damages bones, thyroid, kidneys and brain tissue. The website defends its claim by stating cavity rates in non-fluoridated countries are on par with rates in fluoridated countries.
Arredondo said there was a referendum in the city to abolish fluoride, but it was put down. He expects it to fail once again in this election.
“The better dental health for all people, especially our children, is what is important,” Arredondo said. “Some people don’t have the luxury of owning a tooth brush and tooth paste and we need to be aware of that.”
Lyon said there are no studies showing positive affects of fluoride on teeth.
Dental fluoride in toothbrushes should be the only quantities people receive on a day-to-day basis, he said.
While early voting takes place at the LBJ Student Center, Lyon said he is at the university to advocate the true affects of fluoride to the body.
The Fluoride-Free San Marcos Coalition has strived to educate people on what they believe shouldn’t be in the pubic water system. The coalition has represented itself on Facebook, at Texas State and in the League of Women Voters of Hays County city council debate held Oct. 13 at the San Marcos Activity Center.
“If you want to make the changes you want to see in politics, you as a student and a citizen can make a difference at the local level,” Lyon said. “That’s why I’m out here trying to spread the word—because I know at the local level, every vote counts.”