There’s something in the water in Olivehurst and Plumas Lake. And a group of residents isn’t happy about it.
After about 20 people showed up to this week’s Olivehurst Public Utility District board meeting to request the district to stop adding fluoride to drinking water, district officials hope to have a presentation at a meeting next month to allay some concerns.
OPUD General Manager Tim Shaw said the district didn’t consider adding fluoride lightly; it began about a year ago, after being discussed at board and committee meetings over about six months.
But Justin DeVorss, a Plumas Lake resident who’s pushing for fluoride to go, said he believes more people will support doing so as they learn about the compound.
“The point is, this is a toxic compound the body doesn’t metabolize, so it creates all kinds of medical problems,” DeVorss said.
But he said the true problem is the board’s rationale for adding the compound: to prevent cavities, the same reasoning used by hundreds of other jurisdictions in doing so. Medicating people on a massive scale to prevent disease is regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, he said, and the agency hasn’t given OPUD the authority to do so.
“You’re practicing medicine without a license,” he said.
However, other groups recommend fluoridation, including the federal Centers for Disease Control, the American Dental Association and the American Medical Association, Shaw pointed out.
“Very qualified, reputable places encourage community fluoridation,” he said.
He also said the district wouldn’t argue it’s impossible for someone to get too much fluoride, but adding fluoride to water requires notifying local dentists and pharmacists to prevent that from happening.
DeVorss said the agencies endorsing fluoridation have offered conflicting information on how much fluoride is safe . And its health effects have been sparsely tracked in recent years, he said.
Still, Shaw said, the district hasn’t received any reports of negative health effects since fluoridation began.
In Yuba-Sutter, Yuba City also fluoridates water, beginning 12 years ago.
As of Jan. 1, 2009, 21.5 million Californians received fluoridated drinking water, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was 59 percent of the state’s population. California ranked 36th among the 50 states.
In January of this year, two federal agencies said they would review the fluoride situation . The Department of Health and Human Services proposed that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water be set at the lowest end of the optimal range to prevent tooth decay.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it would begin a review of the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water.
Another Plumas Lake resident said he’s aware there’s fluoride in his drinking water, but he’s not worried about it.
“We all do bottled water,” said Richard Peabody, 37. “We don’t consume enough to be concerned.”
As for his kids’ dental health, he gestured to his daughter, biting into an apple. “Keeps the doctor away, right?” he said.