Introduction – Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.
This is Part 3 of the series in which we report candidates’ responses to a series of questions regarding waste management and water treatment in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.
Excerpt that is only on the fluoridation issue
3rd Question re: Fluoridation of Municipal Water
Preamble: The Yolo County Health Council has continued calls for mandatory system-wide fluoridation of our municipal water supply as a dental decay preventative measure. The Davis City Council rejected this 6 years ago.
Questions: Do you support or oppose municipal water fluoridation in Davis and why or why not?
I oppose fluoridation of our water supply. There are many options to add fluoride through toothpaste and mouthwash products if households feel they need fluoride to prevent tooth decay. This gives people choice about fluoridation. Further, new information has surfaced in recent years as reported in numerous repuatble scientific journals that excess fluoride in drinking water and other ingested sources adversely affects fetal brain development resulting in later diminished IQ scores in young children. There are other epidemiological studies indicating other impacts of fluoride on the brain and brain functuions. Until these impacts are fully understood, the precautionary principle demands we chart a very conservative course when imposing mandatory fluoridation of municipal water. Such an action would also impose a substantial hardship on low-income populations who choose not to ingest fluoridated municipal water forcing them to purchase bottled water with the economic and adverse environmental impacts that brings.
I believe the health benefits of fluoridation outweigh any potential risks and that Davis would be able to monitor and safely implement a fluoridation program if the City were to go forward with such a program. If this issue came up again, I would certainly take community concerns into account and would consider different options but I am generally favorable toward this type of initiative.
Yes I do support the addition of fluoride into the Davis water system as other nearby communities have done to promote better dental health.
I really struggle with this one. What we are being asked to do is weigh environmental sustainability against social sustainability and these are issues that impact our most vulnerable neighbors. I really respect efforts to reduce fluoride in water via the distribution of free dental supplies at community based locations such as STEAC and the Yolo Food Bank but in my opinion we need to do more. There are barriers to accessing this these services therefore, we have many community members who are not receiving proper oral care which leads to many more health issues. If I am elected to council and this item comes before the council again, I would rely on local experts to and doctors to help guide my decision making.
I support fluoridation of the Davis Municipal water system. I do not know of any health organization that opposes fluoridation of water. I have seen no evidence of health risks to fluoridation of water. It is inexpensive. The argument that people should have a choice of drinking fluoridated water or not is, in my opinion, outweighed by the positive benefits to the entire community of fluoridated water. The CDC named “community water fluoridation as 1 of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
I was on the City Council in 2014, and I voted to oppose municipal water fluoridation. I opposed it for several reasons. I felt that it a type of bait and switch situation…in that the Woodland Davis Clean Water project was sold all along to the citizens as bringing clean, reliable water to our communities, and then, in the eleventh hour, an attempt was made to approve fluoridation with little public discussion. There had been no public discussion/discourse of fluoridation in the lead up to the approval of the project. I personally support topical fluoridation, and know it can be delivered quite effectively via fluoride toothpaste, etc. I do not believe we need to have fluoride in the water supply, where most of our water usage goes to purposes other than being applied to our teeth. I have also supported efforts of the Davis Oral Health Project in receiving funding via the city’s CDBG process. These grant dollars purchase oral hygiene kits which are then distributed to individuals most in need of dental care/teeth fluoridation.
My understanding is that recent research has shown that fluoride has unintended consequences long term that are not worth the reported dental benefits. I would want to get the opinions of other experts, the community, and learn what other cities are currently doing before deciding.. However, my current position is in opposition of fluoridation at my current level of knowledge.
Absent compelling scientific evidence that fluoridation in the water supply for all is warranted, I will continue to oppose fluoridation. I voted to oppose municipal fluoridation in the Davis water supply. I believe direct application of fluoride to those at risk is the most cost effective and socially responsible action to prevent dental carries. Many residents opposed the addition of fluoride in the overall water supply. The evidence was not compelling enough to convince me that putting fluoride in everyone’s glass, regardless of access to dental care, was reasonable when compared to the risks. Supporting fluoridation in the overall water supply when there was such strong opposition would have been short sighted and put the overall success of the water project at risk.
I don’t think we should revisit the fluoride proposal. The citizens and the City have spoken on that issue. As a major supporter of the joint surface water project, I saw this issue as a distraction from the important goal of securing a sustainable supply of clean water. I do strongly support providing access to important dental care to those in need, and I have supported targeted dental healthcare improvements.
*Original article online at https://www.davisvanguard.org/2020/10/guest-commentary-sierra-club-questionnaire-part-3-waste-management-and-water-treatment/