Fredericksburg residents will be asked to weigh in on a city charter amendment banning the city from adding fluoride to the public water system.
The measure will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, along with state constitutional amendments. If passed, Fredericksburg will be joining cities such as Buda and San Marcos – where voters also voted to ban fluoride in public water supplies in the past few years.
The measure before Fredericksburg voters made it on to the ballot this year after a citizen-led petition drive that started last fall.
Jeannette Hormuth, who led the campaign, said she took up this issue after reading studies that she said show health problems related to fluoride exposure.
“There’s never been any study long term to prove that it’s safe and effective,” Hormuth said. “I would just say that there is a lot of education that we are still finding out.”
Public health experts, however, say there have been thousands of studies that have shown fluoride is indeed safe.
“There are a few bad studies that people like to focus on,” said Dr. Patty Braun, a specialist in pediatrics at Denver Health.
Braun said she is concerned to see so many cities across the country banning fluoride from drinking water, particularly because it’s been linked to better dental health.
“Community water fluoridation has been happening for decades, and we know that at optimal levels fluoride is very beneficial to the population,” she said.
Braun said, in particular, fluoride is helpful to children. She said dental decay is the most common chronic disease among children and fluoride has been shown to “reduce the disease burden.”
Proponents of the measure say voters should get a say in what is put in the public water supply. Early voting for this year’s constitutional election begins Monday, Oct. 21.