A leader of a local group again asked Parsons city commissioners to discontinue their plan for water fluoridation, but the only commissioner who said he was against fluoridation now has changed his mind.
Janie Higginson of Parsons for Pure Water spoke to the commission Monday, along with several other people against adding fluoride to the public water supply and one Parsons resident in favor of fluoride.
Higginson at an earlier meeting advised the commission of the group’s intention to petition the commission to either stop the fluoridation effort or allow the public to vote on the issue. If the commission refuses, Higginson said her group will force a special election through an official petition certified through the Labette County Clerk’s Office.
The commissioners have approved the design work on relocating the fluoride injection site outside of the water treatment plant. A new pump is needed because fluoride and caustic soda caused corrosion near the two injection sites for the chemicals.
While the city staff was working on relocating the pumps outside the plant as recommended by Derek Clevenger, utilities director, Mayor Kevin Cruse said the commission should revisit the decision to add fluoride to water. His comment came after Nora Winslow of Parsons asked the commission to discontinue fluoridation. The city’s water has not had added fluoride since this summer.
Winslow was among several people speaking against water fluoridation on Monday. She said despite what the commission has said, there is evidence that added fluoride in the water has caused people in Parsons harm. She said a clinic had diagnosed her as being allergic to fluoride. She is allergic to certain foods as well, but she can avoid those foods. She can’t avoid water, she said.
Higginson called for the commissioners to respond to her request to halt the fluoridation project. She said enough taxpayer money already has been spent on fluoridation injection repairs in the past.
She also said she believes the commissioners are trying to do what is right, but they need to look at new scientific information on the issue. At one time long ago, she said, doctors used to bleed patients off when their blood pressure was too high, but since then the scientific community has learned that’s not right. Higginson said the commission is ignoring the new science because continuing with fluoridation is the path of least resistance.
Barbara Bartelli, a cancer survivor, said all the research she has seen shows that she shouldn’t put any more chemicals in her body. She said she and other cancer survivors shouldn’t have to buy water in a glass bottle to stay healthy, noting that even plastic bottled water isn’t good for people.
Mike Godbey, the lone Parsons resident speaking in favor of fluoridation on Monday, said when his children were young he took them to the dentist, but they never had cavities. He said the dentist told him that is because of water fluoridation.
Commissioner Jeff Perez said when the issue of fluoridation was raised in July, he didn’t know much about it. After reading lots of information on both sides of the issue, Perez formed an opinion against fluoridation. However, he did vote in favor of an engineering contract for the fluoride pump because the contract included plans for the caustic soda pump.
Editor’s Note: His ‘most recent and scientific’ reference? →
The Ineffective, Invisible U.S. Surgeon General
Commissioner Shaw said besides the surgeon general, fluoridation also is supported by the ADA and the CDC, as well as nearly every major city in the U.S., and Parsons has added fluoride to its water for nearly 60 years.
Commissioner Bill Hogelin said he, as did the other commissioners, looked at the issue ‘thoroughly’, and he did not make the decision lightly.
Cruse said as a commissioner he must look at all of the information and make the best decision for the community, and that is what he did.
Commissioner Dan Goddard said if Parsons for Pure Water is able to force a special election on the issue, the outcome of that vote should bring the issue to a close because the city should do as the people want. While he is in favor of fluoridation, Goddard said he also would support a special election if the group gets enough signatures on a petition because that is the right of the people.
Dave Winchell of Parsons suggested that the commissioners commit to an election on fluoridation during the next regular election. That way, the cost of the special election could be avoided. City Manager Fred Gress said the last special election forced by petition, which was a recall election for then Mayor Greg York in 2012, cost the city about $4,600.
Emphasis, images and hyperlinks added by Fluoride Free Kansas