Redding Must Fluoridate Water Despite Passage of Ban, State Health Officials Say
Residents of Redding last week passed a ballot measure that would ban the addition of fluoride to the water supply, but Department of Health Services officials said that the community will have "no choice in the matter," the Los Angeles Times reports (Gurnon, Los Angeles Times, 11/11). Measure A would ban the addition of certain chemical compounds, including fluoride, to the water supply (California Healthline, 11/4). Redding Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which supported Measure A, raised concerns about the safety of water fluoridation, a process that they said has been linked to hip fractures and lead poisoning. Local medical and dental organizations opposed the measure because they maintained that water fluoridation helps to prevent tooth decay. About 56% of Redding voters approved the measure. However, Dr. David Nelson, a fluoridation consultant with the health services department, said that "state law trumps local initiative." Under a 1995 state law, communities with at least 10,000 water connections must add fluoride to their water supplies, provided that they can fund the project with a source other than tax revenue. "The state will ultimately enforce the law," Nelson said. On Thursday, Redding received a $1.6 million grant offer from the California Endowment to fund a community fluoridation project. Communities that have decided not to fluoridate their water supplies and did not receive grant offers, such as Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, will not incur penalties, Nelson said. Los Angeles, Sacramento, Escondido and Santa Maria have accepted grants and have begun the fluoridation process (Los Angeles Times, 11/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.