Mar 272005
 
Authors: Ben Bleckley

The deadline for mail-in ballots for the municipal election is a week away. City Council seats in districts 1, 3 and 5 are up for grabs as well as the office of mayor. Three ballot issues are also to be voted on.

Ballot issue two, if passed, would remove fluoride from Fort Collins tap water. Supporters state that fluoride can be harmful to small children and is an unnecessary additive to our water supply. Dentists and others opposing the ballot issue argue that those cases are rare. More often than not, they say, fluoride helps strengthen teeth and prevents cavities.

Both sides appear to be using scare tactics for an issue that, while important to those struggling for or against the issue, is relatively minor as far as decisions go. To wade through it all is an almost impossible task.

For example, supporters argue that fluoride harms babies, while the opposition and American Dental Association state that fluoride greatly reduces the risk of tooth decay in early childhood. Who is one supposed to believe?

Supporters point out that forced medication of the entire Fort Collins population is unethical. That makes sense. But then, fluoride is not technically a medication, but a dietary supplement, since it is a mineral naturally occurring in many water supplies already.

The opposition argues that many communities have been using fluorination for a longer period of time, an argument that just happens to be a logical fallacy. Supporters point out that some countries in Europe do not fluorinate their water – another logical fallacy.

The Larimer County Board of Health supports fluorination. The Fort Collins Water Board opposes it.

Among those against fluoride in water are 14 Nobel laureates, but only one received his award in the last 40 years.

There's so much muck and mudslinging that it has come to the point where some people really do not care.

Plenty of communities have fluorinated water. Plenty don't. No communities have been wiped out.

No mediocre newspaper columnist can swim through this; it is a decision that has to be made on an individual level. The Web sites for each side of the issue are www.healthysmiles.org and www.fortcollinscwa.org. Some other helpful Web sites are www.ada.org and www.cdc.gov.

Make sure ballots are in the mailbox before April 5 to ensure delivery in time.

Ben Bleckley is a senior English major. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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