MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – People in Skagit County will have fluoride added to their municipal water supply.
Tuesday, county commissioners voted in favor of fluoridation – an issue that has divided the community for years and could now end up in a courtroom.
It was a mix of cheers and jeers Tuesday as Skagit County commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of fluoridating the county’s water system.
Commissioner Sharon Dillon cast the lone opposing vote.
“I could not assure myself that this was 100 percent the right thing to do for Skagit County,” she said.
For years, people on either side of the fluoride issue have battled it out, each pointing to studies that support their respective positions, some suggesting fluoride can cause cancer and brittle bones while the overwhelming majority of science shows it helps prevent tooth decay.
“We appreciate what the commissioners have done and in a few years, they’ll see the benefits in their healthcare costs,” said Dr. Harold McClure, fluoride supporter.
“This decision affects some 65,000 Skagit County residents who get their water from the public system.
That is why some people are upset and threatening to sue the county.
In an advisory vote last year, only a slight majority cast ballots in favor of fluoridation.
Jo Roark says everyone else shouldn’t have what she and others call “forced medication.”
Their next move will be trying to get new people on the county commission.
“We’re going to just continue fighting this, kind of in the background, and getting them out of office,” she said.
In the meantime, work is already underway on a grant to pay for fluoridation equipment at Skagit County’s Judy Reservoir.
The only cost to taxpayers, we’re told, will be upkeep and supplies, and that will be fairly inexpensive.
There have been fights over fluoridation in several Western Washington communities. In 2005, people in Bellingham voted against fluoridating that city’s water.