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Listen to voters: Don’t fluoridate Watsonville water

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Listen to voters: Don’t fluoridate Watsonville water
By JUDY DOERING-NIELSEN
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinell
July 25, 2004

I’m disappointed by the court’s decision to ignore the vote of the people of Watsonville, and deeply concerned that one person can override the mandate of the residents of this city who circulated a petition, got the issue on the ballot and voted to not fluoridate the water system.

Having said this, I respect the right of experts as well as non-experts to believe or protest putting an additive into the Watsonville public water system. It is irrelevant whether a measure is won by a single vote or thousands of votes. The democratic process must stand and the voice of the people should not be ignored.

Good dental hygiene is the basis of good oral health, not an additive added to the water system. The same amount of money spent to hire a public-health nurse armed with toothpaste and toothbrushes would be a more responsible approach. It is irresponsible not to actively promote good dental hygiene; discourage schools from dispensing candy and sodas from vending machines; discourage schools from serving school lunches consisting of "junk food"; train new parents to limit sweets from the diets of their children; increase awareness of baby-bottle tooth decay.

If all the above were implemented, we would not have poor dental health in our community and we would not have to add a derivative of an industrial waste to our water system.

There is an analogy that clearly shows what "choice" means. Iodine has been added as a health benefit to salt for many years. One has the choice, however, to purchase salt without iodine. Once something is added to the water system, choice is taken away. If the government stated that vitamins were necessary and the lack of taking them resulted in a statewide concern, would we be mandated to add vitamins to our water system? Taking it a step further, would population control become a nationwide concern and therefore would it be mandated that birth-control medication be added to our drinking water? When do we say "no more?"

How much fluoride is too much? If one brushes one’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste, drinks water with fluoride in it, waters one’s vegetable garden with fluoridated water and then cooks one’s vegetables in fluoridated water, will one be getting too much fluoride? How many glasses of water a day would be too many or too few to provide too much or not enough fluoride?

How does one prevent a mother of an infant from not using tap water to make formula for her child? Children under the age of 2 are cautioned not to ingest fluoride.

Why is there a poison warning label on the package of fluoridated toothpaste when the only active ingredient is fluoride?

I’m disgusted with the mis-information on how fluoride is produced and the dangers it presents to infants and the elderly. For youngsters who need fluoride, tablets are available. I suggest that the dental association use its funds wisely and provide fluoride to "target markets" that could benefit and not inflict a so-called "cure-all" to a total population that it could harm.

I encourage anyone wanting additional information on fluoride to go to the Internet. There are numerous articles and quotes, including the following:

"I would advise against fluoridation," a quote from Dr. Arvid Carlsson, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine in 2000.

"I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs. Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long-range basis," from Dr. Charles Gorden Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association.

"For decades we have believed that fluoride in small doses has no adverse effects on health. But more and more scientists are now seriously questioning the benefits of fluoride even in small amounts," from UNICEF, a United Nations organization.

Democracy and choice are what is at stake. I am hopeful that logic will prevail and the voice of the people will be heard



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