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UK Against Fluoridation

Sunday, July 26, 2015

USA - Removal of fluoride may face uphill fight

By MICKEY POWELL Bulletin Staff Writer
Indications are that any effort to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water would not be supported by a majority of Martinsville City Council members.
Two members say they definitely would not be supportive, and another is leaning that way.
The issue is not on the printed agenda for the council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. However, Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge has said that if no one else does, she will make a motion during the meeting to discontinue adding fluoride to water.
In January, the council unofficially decided to continue fluoridating water after it took no action on a resident’s request that the city end the practice.
At meetings since then, the panel has heard from numerous people on both sides of the issue. Some touted the potential benefits of fluoride in preventing tooth decay and dental diseases. Others voiced opposition along lines such as that exposure to too much fluoride could lead to health problems, including brain disorders.
Hodge did not return a phone call for comment. However, she recently said she is concerned about whether government has the right to force something that might be unsafe on the public.
She said at that time, though, that she was not questioning the benefits of fluoridating water.
Mayor Danny Turner and Councilman Gene Teague said Friday that if a motion is made Tuesday night to discontinue fluoridation, they will not support it. They cited studies showing that fluoride is beneficial.
Adding fluoride to water is “a very cheap way to help people” maintain good dental health, especially when compared to costs for correcting dental problems such as cavities, Turner said.
Teague made a similar comment.
“I believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said, because most scientific studies he has seen show that adding fluoride to water generally is safe.
Councilman Mark Stroud declined to say how he would vote if the issue were raised.
“I don’t think it’s fair” to announce how he will vote on issues before votes are taken because “there can always be some information that comes up from some source … at the 12th hour that could” change his opinion, he said.
Vice Mayor Jennifer Bowles, who at the July 14 council meeting suggested that a vote be taken on the issue at Tuesday night’s meeting, said she has not yet officially decided how she will vote.
She indicated, though, that she is leaning toward not supporting a motion to end fluoridation.
“I’ve received a lot of input from citizens saying they would prefer to keep fluoride in” the water, Bowles said.
She added that while her job as a council member is “to make informed decisions on issues,” she also is obliged to represent the public and vote according to its wishes.
Council members said they individually have received as many as perhaps 50 communications – including phone calls, text and email messages and letters – from people on the issue. Most favor continuing fluoridation, they said.

Teague said he thinks that if most city residents did not want fluoridated water, the majority of opinions council members have heard would be against the practice.

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