Should Watsonville, California Fluoridate Their Water?

Should Watsonville, California Fluoridate Their Water?

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Watsonville California Water Fluoridation
©Robert Kylio/Shutterstock.com

This is the first of an eight part series on dental pain control that will appear each Friday for the next eight weeks on OralAnswers.com. Here is a list of the topics I will talk about:

  • A History of Pain Control in Dentistry
  • Electronic Anesthesia for Dental Pain
  • Topical Anesthetic

Talk about how started w/ cocaine.
I usually don’t post on Tuesdays, see but I found an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about the fluoridation of the water supply in the 50, capsule 000 population-town of Watsonville, visit this site California.

Downtown Watsonville California
Downtown Watsonville, CA

The article, entitled Anger Fuels Water-fluoridation Debate in Watsonville, Calif. talks about how the town is experiencing a dental decay epidemic.  The town has a large proportion of migrant workers that perhaps cannot afford regular dental care.  A study of local students showed an average of two abscesses in each classroom, not to mention a large number of cavities.  Obviously, something needs to be done to improve the oral health in this town.

In 2002 there was a vote on water fluoridation.  The people voted by a narrow margin of 2% to not fluoridate their water.  However, that vote conflicted with a California mandate  that had been set forth in 1995 to fluoridate the water of larger towns when there is outside money available for fluoridation. In Watsonville, there is money available ($1.5 million) to fluoridate their water  from the California Dental Association.

An Economic Twist

The economy of Watsonville relies on agriculture.  Unemployment in the town is estimated to be 25%.  One of the town’s larger employers, Martinelli’s Beverages is looking to expand to a variety of juices.  They want to do this expansion in Watsonville, however since their expansion will require using the city’s water to reconstitute some juices, they would be forced to sell fluoridated juice.  Here’s what the company president, John Martinelli has to say about that:

We believe fluoride is bad for your body so, morally and ethically, we simply cannot put that water in our products… If half the people in this town don’t want to be mass-medicated, then we shouldn’t be.

Fortunately, the city has offered to help purchase water de-fluoridation equipment for the Martinelli company so that it can still expand to Watsonville.

Should Watsonville, CA Be Mass-Medicated?

The last part of John Martinelli’s quote really got me thinking.  It made me ponder a few questions:

  • If the citizens don’t want their water fluoridated, does the government have a right to fluoridate it?
  • If the city council wanted to add Vitamin A to the water supply, should they be allowed?
  • If the city is willing to help purchase water de-fluoridation equipment for Martinelli’s, should they offer a rebate on reverse-osmosis water filters for their citizens that oppose water fluoridation?

I can’t offer easy answers to these questions, but they do make me think about the proper role of government in our health.

I believe that fluoride does reduce dental decay and improves oral health.  However, I do wonder whether or not the public water supply is the best way to deliver fluoride to the general public.

I don’t think John Martinelli was wrong when he said that he cannot ethically put fluoridated water in his products because he believes fluoride is bad for our bodies.  Whether or not John Martinelli’s belief is founded on scientific principles really doesn’t matter.  I mean, some people believe on a religious basis that war is immoral.  The United States excuses such people from the draft.  And some people believe that it is immoral and unethical to fluoridate the public water supply.  So is it really fair for the United States to force those people to drink fluoridated water?

11 COMMENTS

  1. You bring up some very good points. Once you allow the government to add one thing, it would be hard to draw a fine line when it comes to other things. I probably should know, but what is the danger of adding fluoride to water? Is it really unsafe or is that just speculation?

    • Thanks for the comment, Kelsey.

      Fluoride has been proven to cause mottling of the teeth, which means that it can cause white specks to form on your teeth, which is most visible in the front teeth and can cause cosmetic issues. This mottling is commonly known as fluorosis.

      Other than that, there have been no adverse health effects attributed to water fluoridation. However, there is a lot of speculation that water fluoridation can cause many other diseases, but none have been scientifically proven.

  2. “Other than that, there have been no adverse health effects attributed to water fluoridation. ” Once again, where in the name of heaven are you getting this “information” of yours? Fluoride is a deadly toxin, and there have been numerous cases of people who have been sickened or killed by the fluoride in their water, foods, medications, and dental products. It is UNSAFE. Check the poison label on your tube of fluoridated toothpaste. If the dose is sufficient, fluoride will cause pulmonary edema, acute renal failure, heart attack, shock, loss of calcium and magnesium, muscle break-down, loss of collagen, thyroid problems, etc. Fluoridated water cannot be used for patients on dialysis because it will and has resulted in their deaths. Most of the fluoride that is added to drinking water is byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Here’s a book for you to read – Chris Bryson wrote this while he was a colleague of Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.

    Here is one case of fluoride poisoning in a community.
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/330/2/95

    • Thanks for the information, Mary.

      I was not aware of the case in Alaska where there was too much fluoride in the water, causing illness.

      Fluoride, as well as many other minerals can cause adverse health effects when consumed in large excesses. However, at the concentration that fluoride exists in fluoridated water, I don’t believe that it poses very many health risks. Please link to some studies validating all of those diseases that fluoridated water has caused.

      I will look at that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. You’re welcome Tom. I guess the National Academies study that ended in 2006 is very interesting, in that they showed the effects of fluoride system by system. Here’s one quote from a study they reviewed: “The IQ scores in both males and females declined with increasing fluoride exposure.”
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11571
    Many people now suffer from GI problems. Barrett’s esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus used to be rare, but have risen dramatically since the 1970s. When wondering what could possibly cause the lining of the esophagus to be eaten away, one should remember that when ingested, fluorides can combine with hydrogen ions to form hydrogen fluoride and convert to hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid can eat its way through titanium.

  4. In the 60s you would be called a Commie if you thought of Fluoride in your water.Gassss the Movie shows this to be true.Cops chasing a hippie with flouride stole from school lab.This is a poison and this has been proven.It’s on your teeth how long before it eats your gut?It was first used in prisons and by NAZIs……Don’t Poison Watsonville It make you DUM if you drink.

  5. Unfortunately the battle against water fluoridation has already been lost in the City of Watsonville. The residents and including city employees refuse to accept the negative effects of medicated water. This type of information is definitely worth sharing but unfortunately it requires consideration of slight life-style changes and the people would much rather not consider it. The few brave residents whom actually spoke against it are trying to preserve Santa Cruz County and the beautiful Monterey Bay in being a safe place for their families to live. Unfortunately corruption has its way of spreading; virus-like and praying on the ill-informed. Water fluoridation is bad, but fortunately reverse osmosis filters are the answer or one can simply purchase water from water purification shops. Can’t afford it? Shame. Guess its back to 99 cent fast food and 1-liters of soda…

  6. You don’t have to look too far or too long to find TONS of evidence that adding floride to drinking water is an extremely BAD IDEA!! If there are dental issues then let the dentists and parents have the children/adults or whomever needs the floride use a dental rinse that contains the floride needed. It has been proven that Floride is not toxic unless it is ingested! Gome on people use your brains for once!!

    • You bring up a good point – not everybody NEEDS fluoride for good oral health. Maybe it would be better to allow people the choice to use fluoride if they want. I’ll be writing some articles on the fluoride debate in the near future. For a good book on the topic, check out the book The Fluoride Wars. It gives a pretty fair look at the whole fluoride debate.

  7. Hi Tom,

    Please watch this seminar entitled “Fluoride – Good and Toxic: Keeping it Topical” given by Dr. Hardy Limeback BSc PhD DDS at a conference in 2008. His intro is at the bottom.

    Dr. Hardy Limeback. He has a PhD in biochemistry and a dental degree from the University of Toronto. He has been the head of Preventive Dentistry in University of Toronto since 1994 and has conducted funded research on tooth development and effect of fluoride on teeth and bones.

    He is the author of over 80 papers. He served on the Canadian Dental Association product recognition committee and organized an international workshop to set fluoride supplement policy.

    He is a member of US National Academy of Science Committee on Fluoride in drinking water. He co-authored a book on fluoride toxicity that was published in 2006

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