Water fluoridation spices up city election

Karon Parrish
Editor-in-Chief

   Water fluoridation is a hot topic for many citizens in Monticello and if the proposed initiative passes on the Nov. 2 ballot, Monticello will not be able to restart the operation of fluoride in the water supply.

   In a January city council meeting, Mayor David Anderson indicated that the city would receive a grant to purchase and install new equipment to begin the process of adding fluoride to city water again. A city ordinance requires water fluoridation but due to broken equipment and no trained manpower, the fluoridation was turned off.

   The initiative will appear on the ballot for the city of Monticello only. County water supplies that may be supplied by the city will not be affected by the result of the election. Linda Bryant, a Monticello resident, started a campaign to propose that the fluoridation of Monticello’s water supply be stopped.

   “This issue began about safety. It's simple, if you want to be assured that your not drinking any contaminants that are proven to cause cancer, bone loss, hyperactivity, lowered I.Q. thyroid problems, Alzheimer’s and weakened teeth, then you will be in support of the ‘Safe Drinking Water Initiative’ by voting yes,” Bryant said.

   Bryant said fluoridation certification falls under voluntary product standards which require no testing on its safety.

   “It seems that this issue is more of a power-struggle with the promoters of fluoride rather than a health issue. If they really looked at this issue and based their decisions reflecting all stakeholders involved and the uncompromised science, then the best solutions for tooth decay could be made with alternative options that would be safe for everyone involved and actually be more effective,” Bryant said.

   The Drew County Quorum Court is recommending Monticello voters oppose the “Safe Drinking Water Initiative” in the Nov. 2 election. City councilwoman Carole Bulloch made a motion to support the fluoridation of Monticello’s water supply, and the court unanimously approved her motion.

   Local dentist Robert H. Burch Jr. said on behalf of all the dentists in Monticello that since the fluoridation stopped, resident's cavities have increased.

   Local physicians, pharmacists, Drew Memorial Hospital and the Monticello School District oppose the initiative, Burch said.

   Dr. Lynn Mouden, chair of the Arkansas State Department of Health Dental division spoke at the local Rotary meeting held on the UAM campus in response to the initiative.

   “Fluoridation is an important tool in the prevention of tooth decay,” Mouden said.

   In order to make an informed decision, it is important to take the time to read the “Safe Drinking Water Initiative.” Voting against the initiative means yes to fluoride and a vote for the initiative means no to fluoride.

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