A “Biting” Water Controversy
Ever since KUSI invited some guests on Good Morning San Diego in recent weeks to discuss water fluoridation, we have received copies of hundreds of emails from citizens pleading with city leaders not to add fluoride to the city's water supply. San Diego is the largest city in the nation that is still not fluoridating the water. It was set to do it just before Christmas, but it was postponed and now there may be another reason to, at least, re-think the plan. The U.S. government says too much fluoride is potentially dangerous to children's teeth. The question is, how much is too much?
A city spokesman now says it's too soon to say how the new Federal guidelines for fluoride will affect the plans to add it to our water. Fluoridating water has been controversial for years. Some argue that government should not be forcing the additive on us, while others simply say they don't know if it's safe. San Diego banned fluoride in the water in the 1950's but city lawyer's claims a state law passed in the 1990's supersedes the local ordinance. It requires local water companies to add the fluoride. There is no quarrel that it has significantly reduced the number of cavities in children.
Don't misunderstand, the government is not saying fluoride is not beneficial, it is just saying the amount needs to be smaller so it does not stain or pit the teeth of children. Some others also claim it causes cancer and brittle bones. The American Dental Association disagrees that there is a great danger and says the new regulations lowering the amount in water shows that the government is responsible and is always reviewing new data to help make all Americans safer.
Those who are opposing adding it to San Diego's water are tenacious and scared. The emails I have read talk about protecting their children and worry about the unknown. If there is a study that shows people in San Diego are dying or having more tooth problems because they do not have fluoride in the water, I have not found one. Since, it seems, the Environmental Protection Agency is still unsure exactly what fluoride does and how much is too much, San Diego might just decide to listen to those writing those emails and just say no to fluoride and remain the largest city in the nation without it. In the past, fluoride was hard to find but now we get it in toothpaste, mouthwash and special treatments when we go to the dentist. If people want it they can get it. The city just needs to decide if it also needs to be in the water.
Right now, at least in the KUSI email inbox, more people are arguing against it than are demanding it.