Sunday, March 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Supervisors urge Davis, Woodland to fluoridate water supply

By
From page A1 | May 08, 2013 |

WOODLAND — Yolo County supervisors on Tuesday weighed in on the controversial topic of whether Davis should begin fluoridating its community water supply.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution presented by Supervisor Don Saylor of Davis calling on both Davis and Woodland to fluoridate their drinking water as plans for the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project get underway.

And while the cities themselves will have the final say on fluoridation, Saylor said the county has a unique role when it comes to promoting public health within its borders.

“It’s appropriate for us to take a stand, to weigh in, on this issue,” Saylor told his colleagues.

Supervisors Jim Provenza of Davis, Matt Rexroad of Woodland and Mike McGowan of West Sacramento voted in favor of the resolution while Duane Chamberlain of the rural 5th District voted against it, saying, “I don’t think we should be forcing this on everyone.”

Whether the Davis water supply ultimately will be fluoridated is up to the City Council, which will receive a recommendation on the matter from its Water Advisory Committee on June 27 and is expected to decide on July 9.

In the meantime, the committee is holding a series of discussions on fluoridation, with the next one scheduled for May 23.

Speaking in favor of fluoridation Tuesday was Dr. Michael Wilkes, a UC Davis professor of medicine and chairman of the Yolo County Health Council, who called the whole debate over fluoridation “silly.”

“We could debate needle exchanges and there are very different opinions on that,” he said. “It is something reasonable people could have different opinions on. This is a no-brainer. The data is so clear and so convincing … in terms of (fluoride’s) effectiveness in preventing tooth decay and its safety.”

Wilkes said he sees many low-income adolescents in his practice and is “bowled over” by the number of them with large numbers of dental cavities.

As for the issue that has been raised that infants fed dry formula mixed with fluoridated water would be at risk for fluorosis — a consequence of too much fluoride — Wilkes disagreed with that as well.

“The benefits are greater for infants than for adults,” he said, explaining that baby teeth are still forming and erupting and are more susceptible to the benefits of fluoride than already-formed adult teeth.

Davis resident Alan Pryor disagreed, however, noting that both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association have warned against feeding babies dry formula mixed with fluoridated water because of the risk of fluorosis.

He also noted that many other countries, specifically Japan and some European nations, have chosen not to fluoridate community water supplies and they have no more tooth decay than the United States. Additionally, Pryor said, there are cities like San Francisco that do fluoridate but also have higher rates of dental disease than Davis.

But retired pediatrician Rick Baker, who serves on the First 5 Yolo Commission, said community fluoridation “will improve the dental health of all of our children, and particularly those who are underserved.”

“This is a social justice issue,” he said, explaining that many residents of the county have no dental insurance and are not receiving topical fluoride treatments at regular dental visits.

“Dental decay is the most common chronic problem in children,” he added. “We can prescribe fluoride, but there is a cost involved. … This community water fluoridation allows us to do that in a proactive way. For every dollar invested in water fluoridation, there are 38 dollars saved in dental treatments. This is the time to implement a low-cost and safe, very safe, public health measure.”

According to the resolution approved Tuesday, the rate of untreated dental decay in Yolo County children ranges from 22 to 35 percent. But West Sacramento, which began fluoridating its water supply in 2009, has seen dental disease decline among low-income preschoolers and kindergartners by 10 percent in the past three years, the resolution states.

Whether that is a result of fluoridation or efforts at improving access to dental care for low-income families is unclear.

But McGowan, who expressed pride in West Sacramento having already fluoridated its water, said, “regardless of the controversies, the public health benefits far, far, far outweigh the potential concerns.”

Chamberlain, meanwhile, questioned why, if only a tiny portion of the whole water supply is actually consumed by people, “you would want to fluoridate all this water.”

“Just fluoridate what you drink,” he said. “I’m going to vote ‘no’ because I don’t think we should be forcing this on everybody.”

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

     
    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Sports

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8