Cotati says no to fluoridation
Too many variables prompt council to unanimously vote against county’s plan
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By Dave Williams  November 15, 2013 12:00 am

Cotati became the first city in Sonoma County to voice an opinion on the concept of water fluoridation throughout the county at its City Council meeting on Sept. 12. 

And after hearing presentations from proponents and opponents of fluoridation as well as a number of audience members, the council responded with a unanimous no vote at around 10:45 p.m.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up this issue sometime in the spring of 2014, and thus far, the board has seemed in favor of fluoridation. Before the issue is actually voted on by the county board, representatives from the Sonoma County Dept. of Health Services will go to council meetings throughout Sonoma County extolling the virtues of fluoridation, while opponents will be at the same meetings trying to dispel their case.

On Tuesday, Kim Caldeway made the case for the county health department, while Sonoma County Water Coalition co-founder Stephen Fuller Rowell and local dentist Richard Shames spoke against fluoridation. Each side, as expected, came equipped with the requisite statistics and results from various studies. And one of the areas of agreement was that dental care in the county is lacking.

One of the council’s primary concerns was the fact that if fluoridation goes into effect, Cotati residents will lose the choice of whether or not they’d like fluoride in their water. Councilwoman Susan Harvey likened fluoridation to prescribing a drug to a person who may not want it or need it.

“I can’t help but to believe that this is a drug, no matter how I look at it. And people should have choices about whether they want to take drugs or not,” Harvey said. “I just don’t feel like I have enough overwhelming information that shows me this is not a medicine.”

Another concern was the effect fluoridation would have on wildlife. More than 95 percent of water, whether it contains fluoride or not, is not drunk, which means it often flows down the drain and into the water supply.

“I have a concern about any chemical mixing in our water ways with other chemicals,” Dell’Osso. “Chemicals can react with each other to create something harmful to wildlife, which is something we’ve worked hard to build back up.” 

Fluoride, a chemical compound, first made its way into drinking water supplies in the United States nearly 70 years ago. Nearly 75 percent of the nation’s population using public water systems are now receiving fluoridated water. The fluoridation concept has the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the surgeon general, the World Health Organization and the American Dental Association.

Caldeway, cited those groups and also said the rash of tooth decay among those is lower-income areas is one reason for fluoridation because it would give such residents the needed fluoride to lower the rates of tooth decay.

Rowell and Shames said fluoridation does much more harm than good. They warned of how certain levels of fluoride added to the water supply could be harmful to children or those with thyroid problems.

Other than those representing the county health department, everyone in the audience was staunchly against fluoridation.

State law mandates that cities with more than 10,000 water connections add fluoride to their water supplies. But Cotati has fewer than 8,000 connections, which means the state mandate does not apply. Still, if the board votes for fluoridation, Cotati would have no choice but to accept the fluoridated water.

The only fluoridated water in Sonoma County currently is delivered to residents of Healdsburg, the Fitch Mountain area and Two Rock Coast Guard Base. The fluoridation project for the county would affect around 350,000 residents served by the Sonoma County Water Agency in Cotati, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Forestville, Sonoma and the Valley of the Moon. Also, because in excess of 50,000 Novato-area residents also are served by the water agency, they’d be getting fluoridated water for the first time.

Preliminary estimates show the project could cost up to $8.5 million in upgrades to the county’s central water system as well as maintenance starting at more than $900,000 per year, according to a county report.

Caldeway was unable to give a distinct answer as to how the project would be funded.

Post Your Comments:
george noble
December 3, 2013
I'm so glad to see the local community leaders are finally taking a position, opposing this obsolete and very dangerous practice. It's about time.
November 18, 2013
It is importance to realize that fluoride occurrs naturally in our environment and is picked up in water moves through aquifers, rivers, and water sheds. The problem is that most of North America is naturally low in flouride. Thus we don't realize the benefits of fluoride for our teeth at existing concentrations. Community water fluoridation is a great way to adjust those concentrations to the level we know is beneficial to humans.

This is a tried and true practice that has produced great results for people at a very low cost per capita. Water fluoridation benefits people of all age and incomes regardless of their access to dental care.

Hopefully Cotati city council will reconsider their position.
November 15, 2013
Councilwoman Susan Harvey is dead wrong about fluoridation being a drug. The Pacific Ocean has between 1.2-1.5 ppm (parts per million) natural fluoride ion. Is the ocean "medicated"?

Perhaps I missed some earth shattering new, but the last legal case involving a fluoridation suit was judge in favor of the defendant, the Metro Water District of Southern California. (August 9, 2011)


November 15, 2013
Don't be misled by the fluoriphobes! They are anti-science and anti-vaccination.

"Loose choice"? Do people have a choice about infant car seats or maintaining cleanliness in restaurants? Fluoridation is just another public health measure ? one that the EPA considers safe for humans and the environment.

Fluoridation is like compulsory supplementation of certain foods with folic acid to avoid birth defects. In this case, fluoridation reduces cavities an additional 20-40% over other forms of dental hygiene because it can continual remineralize teeth.

There are no added "chemicals" that end up in fluoridated water. When fluorosilicic acid is added (in miniscule amounts) to water it immediately breaks down into more water, a bit of silica (sand) that is filtered out, and fluoride ions. These ions are exactly the same as fluoride ions found in ground water.

Government can make no greater investment for citizens than to fluoridate water. After the first year, fluoridation costs less than the price of a tube of toothpaste per citizen. A 2001 study found that for every $1 spent on fluoridation, citizens are saved $38 in dental bills.

Fluoridation also benefits all citizens, even the elderly who have vulnerable exposed roots.
November 15, 2013
The claim that fluoridated water is harmful simply doesn?t stand up to the evidence. Water companies use only a trace level of fluoride.There is less than one tablespoon of fluoride in 1,300 gallons of water. No one has been able to prove health harms from drinking water with that level of fluoride.
Steven Slott
November 15, 2013
​​As far as the unsubstantiated claims made about Thyroid concerns, the following is the opinion of a respected endocrinologist from the University of Florida:

August 27, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

As a practicing endocrinologist, I was appalled at the claims that fluoridated drinking water causes clinically significant harm to the endocrine system.

Clinically, in more than 30 years of seeing patients, I have never seen any fractures or thyroid problems associated with fluoridated water. Early puberty is more associated with obesity than anything else, though there are many endocrine disrupters that have estrogenic effect. Fluoride has not been implicated, though lavender, tea tree oil and HCG, substances found commonly in hair products, have been.

I looked at the papers cited about the effects of fluoride on thyroid function and could find none that suggested any effect on thyroid at doses used in fluoridated water. A Review of the literature published in 1986 came to the same conclusion:

?The increasing use of fluoride for prevention of dental caries poses the problem as to whether this halogen has antagonistic properties towards iodine, whereby it could hamper the success of iodine prophylaxis of endemic goitre. Review of the literature shows that some authors have found an inhibition by fluoride of various steps of thyroid hormone biosynthesis in animal experiments. By and large, the inhibition was only slight and it was elicited only with fluoride doses greatly in excess of those recommended for caries prevention. The inhibition was not consistently present and other authors could not confirm it in comparable experiments. There is no convincing evidence that fluoride produces true goitres with epithelial hyperplasia in experimental animals. There are some reports based on casual observations that fluoride is goitrogenic in man. On the other hand, several good studies with adequate exposed and control populations failed to detect any goitrogenic effect of fluoride in man. It is noteworthy in particular that fluoride does not potentiate the consequences of iodine deficiency in populations with a borderline or low iodine intake.Published data failed to support the view that fluoride, in doses recommended for caries prevention, adversely affects the thyroid.?

I hope this clarifies the issues a bit more.


Janet Silverstein, MD, FAAP

Steven D. Slott, DDS
November 15, 2013
If fluoride works at all it works on the outside of the tooth not from inside the body. Thus there is no need to expose the whole body to a known toxic substance for a lifetime with every glass of water drunk. And there is no rational reason to force people to drink it against their will.

Medical professionals should be ashamed to support such a crude and unethical practice which results in cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, arthritis and other serious health problems.
See "Dangerous Health Effects" at
November 15, 2013
The Cotati City Council simply needs to look at valid science from respected, reliable, and original sources. There is no question that fluoridated water is safe, simply unsubstantiated claims made by fluoride opponents who do not understand that such claims require valid support before being credible. Of the two "problems" mentioned in this article, there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence of any thyroid problem attributable to fluoride at the optimal level. I challenge those who made such claims to produce valid scientific evidence to support this claim, or admit that none exists. As far as environmental concerns, the other problem noted, again, totally unsubstantiated conjecture.

"Fluoridated water losses during use, dilution of sewage by rain and groundwater infiltrate, fluoride removal during secondary sewage treatment, and dif?fusion dynamics at effluent outfall combine to elimi?nate fluoridation related environmental effects. In a literature review, Osterman found no instance of municipal water fluoridation causing recommended environmental concentrations to be exceeded, although excesses occurred in several cases of severe industrial water pollution not related to water fluoridation. Osterman found that overall river fluoride con? centrations theoretically would be raised by 0.001-0.002 mg/l, a value not measurable by current analytic tech? niques. All resulting concentrations would be well below those recommended for environmental safety."

Water Fluoridation and the Environment: Current Perspective in the United States

This City Council made a common mistake in accepting unsubstantiated claims as being valid. Science and healthcare are evidenced based, not conjecture and unsubstantiated opinion based. They need to behave responsibly and rethink this grievous decision.

Steven D. Slott, DDS
NorCal Native
November 15, 2013
Poisoning of the water (aka "fluoridation") must be stopped BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

"Fluoride for health" is a sick lie.
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