An efficiency rating of only 5%

By From page A6 | October 01, 2013

The Davis City Council is poised to rule whether to authorize annual operating costs of a quarter of a million dollars — and up to $2 million in initial capital expenditures — to fluoridate the city’s water supply.

The intention is to purportedly “benefit” people who supposedly have access to adequate dental care. That contention is flawed. Everyone has access to dental care and personal dental hygiene though flossing and use of fluoridated toothpaste or fluoride rinse. Individuals prioritize how to spend their money within their financial means.

Fluoridation of the water supply undermines individual choice. By choice, I uses ACT fluoride rinse, an 18-ounce bottle of which costs about $4.50 and lasts nearly two months — but I don’t drink it, or cook with it, or shower in it or pour it on my lawn.

The City Council members were elected not to play the role of Robin Hood, but to defend the interests of the city’s residents at large, with fiscal responsibility. Citywide fluoridation would unfairly impose further financial difficulties on middle-income families already struggling to meet their financial obligations.

Fluoridation of the municipal water supply would be terribly inefficient. Nearly 30 years ago, the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development published a handbook (http://pubs.usgs.gov/chapter11/chapter11D.html) that reported “the largest components of inside household use are toilet flushing (39 percent) and bathing (30 percent).”

The Department of Public Works for Lincoln, Neb., determined percentages for household indoor water: toilet flushing, 42 percent; showering and bathing, 30 percent; laundry, 14 percent; dishwashing, 6 percent; bathroom sinks, 3 percent; and finally, drinking and cooking, 5 percent (http://www.extension.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=221677&name=DLFE-3225.pdf).

And a “Teachers’ Guide” that the California Department of Water Resources published (http://www.water.ca.gov/education/docs/TeacherGuide.pdf) attributes the following percentages for household water consumption: outdoor uses, 38 percent; toilets, 22 percent; bathing, 18 percent, laundry, 12 percent; faucets, 5 percent; drinking and cooking, 5 percent.

Despite variances in other figures, those agencies are in agreement that drinking and cooking account for only 5 percent of household water consumption. The federal government banned incandescent electric bulbs because — guess watt — they convert only 5 percent of the energy they consume into visible light.

Yet the Davis City Council is considering instituting a costly new program that would by all accounts have an efficiency rating of 5 percent, and which would subvert my freedom of choice. For all these reasons and more, this proposal deserves to be rejected.

Jeff March


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