In an inspiring victory over the forces of evil, voters of Wichita, Kansas successfully rejected fluoridation of their city’s water supply at the ballot box yesterday. Boasting a stunning 59% victory, Wichita residents asserted their decision to keep the additive from making its presence known in their water supply, despite efforts by pro-fluoridation groups to confuse voters.
Suspicions of fluoride’s negative health effects have long been a subject of contention. While city governments emphasize the importance of fluoridated water as it relates to dental health, numerous studies have negated its benefits and identifiedvarious health complications related to fluoride exposure.
A recent Harvard University study found that fluoride intake can impede cognitive development in young children, reducing overall IQ. “Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature,” Anna L. Choi, a Harvard research scientist, and her colleagues wrote.
Other studies have linked fluoride exposure in children to “brain development abnormalities, dementia, and other forms of mental illness.” Making claims that fluoridation would benefit citizens teeth, the pro-fluoridation group Wichitans for Healthy Teeth futilely attempted to confound the issue, however, 74,788 voters opposed.
“I pushed no, because it can mess up your teeth,” LaGina Walker, 34, told the Wichita Eagle. “And I don’t trust the water, period.”
While there’s a slim possibility that fluoride may be beneficial for teeth, there’s no evidencesuggesting the additive’s ingestion would have any healthy results. The city had struck down water fluoridation twice before, once in 1964 and again in 1978. The CDC included the “Fluoridation of drinking water” in its list of the top “Ten Great Public Health Achievements” of the last century.