Spokane City Council to vote on fluoridation at Monday’s meeting
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council will vote on whether or not to fluoridate the city’s water at their meeting on Monday.
The topic has been a battle for decades and shot down by voters several times. Mayor Nadine Woodward, who has been critical of the council’s approach, believes it should again go to a city-wide vote.
Spokane does not currently add fluoride to its water. The city currently has between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams per liter due to naturally occurring fluoride; the federal Department of Health and Human Services recommends 0.7 milligrams per liter.
Proponents say adding low levels of fluoride to the city’s water will decrease tooth decay in children and adults by 25 percent.
“It’s a good thing and we know how it impacts young people, especially people with equity issues,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, medical officer at Spokane Regional Health. “Again, I think it has significant benefits.”
Jeff Irish, the chairman of Safe Water Spokane, disagrees.
“The science throughout in the last ’19-2020, there’s many studies that have looked at the brain damage to the effects on children,” he said.
One of the studies Irish has pointed to claimed a small increase in fluoride lowers IQ in children. The study has been disputed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Adding fluoride to Spokane’s water would cost around $4 million. City Council President Breean Beggs said Arcora, a dental health foundation, offered to provide and raise the money for the city, but it would cost $600,000 a year to maintain. That equates to about two to three dollars per person in the city, per year.
Should the council vote in favor of fluoridation on Monday, there will be an option for people who do not want it. Beggs said there will places set up around the city where people can get water without fluoride in it.
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