Measure S, which would ban the addition of fluoride to the city’s water supply, went down to the wire Tuesday night, with the race too close to call.
Absentee and provisional ballots will decide the race.
Though the initiative does not specifically mention fluoride, the group Watsonville Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which sponsored the measure, sought to keep the city from adding that or other chemicals not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to the local water supply. Excepted were chemicals like chlorine that make water safe to drink.
Members of No on Measure S, a pro-fluoride group backed by local dentists, residents and businesses, said approval of the measure would take the city backward and prevent the area’s children from receiving the benefits of fluoridation.
Fluoridation opponents said allowing the addition of fluoride to the public water supply could open a floodgate for the addition of other chemicals or mass medication. They claimed ingested fluoride does not cure dental problems. The group was backed by the San Diego- based anti-fluoridation organization Citizens for Safe Drinking Water and by a San Jose woman, Maureen Jones, who spent $10,953 on ads, fliers and signs promoting the measure since January.
Fluoride is added to municipal water supplies nationwide to prevent tooth decay. About 62 percent of the country’s population receives fluoridated tap water. In California, about 29 percent of the state’s 33 million residents receive fluoridated water.
Yes 2,600 50.3
No 2,568 49.7
Wording of Measure S:
In order to ensure that the public water of Watsonville is safe to drink, it shall be unlawful and a public nuisance for any person, agent, or any public or private water system, to add any product, substance, or chemical to the public water supply for the purpose of treating or affecting the physical or mental functions of the body of any person, rather than to make water safe or potable, unless the substance meets the following criteria:
1) The substance must have been specifically approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness with a margin of safety that is protective for all adverse health and cosmetic effects at all ranges of unrestricted consumption.
2) The substance, at Maximum Use Levels, must contain no contaminants at concentrations that exceed U.S. Maximum Contaminant Level Goals or California Public Health Goals, whichever is more protective.
If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity may not affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.