A controversial program to fluoridate the City of San Diego’s water was postponed last month, but South Bay residents who receive water from Sweetwater Authority, a separate water district, will begin drinking fluoridated water in mid-January until June of 2011. According to the Sweetwater Authority website, the change is due to construction upgrades of the Sweetwater Reservoir treatment plant.
Fluoridation is an unfunded mandate by the State of California in cities with a population above 10,000. In 2007, the First 5 Commission of San Diego County, an organization dedicated to the health of children 0-5 years of age, voted to fund water fluoridation for districts in San Diego, starting with the city itself. In December 2010, the Union-Tribune reported that First 5 had committed $3.2 million to build a fluoridation system and another $700,000 to operate it for two years; however, funding after two years is uncertain.
The issue of fluoridation continues to be divisive in the county. Proponents, such as the American Dental Association, argue that it is a strong preventative measure for ensuring healthy teeth. A First 5 internet site states, “only 55% of 2-5 year olds in San Diego County have ever had a dental visit and 28% do not have dental insurance.”
Dr. David C Kennedy, past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and an opponent of fluoridating water, said in a recent interview that he finds it ironic that First 5 would fund fluoridation.
In 2007, Kennedy made a presentation to San Diego City Council (which can be found on YouTube under the title “Poisoned Babies”). At the council meeting, Kennedy argued that infants should not be allowed to ingest formula that is mixed with fluoridated tap water, as an overdose could cause fluorosis, with consequences ranging from mottled enamel to skeletal formation problems. At the same council meeting, Dr. Howard Pollick, a proponent for fluoridation, agreed that infants should not be given formula with fluoride-treated tap water.
Kennedy is concerned that parents of infants in the Sweetwater Authority District have not been sufficiently advised about this potential danger. Kennedy says a meeting is planned for noon on January 8 at the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest, for those who are interested in preventing fluoridation of San Diego’s water.