Wednesday, November 7, 2012
After a long night of specultation, we can finally say for certain that the water fluoridation issue in Wichita has been rejected. About 60-70 volunteers who worked hard to help educate the public attended a watch party Tuesday night, but the chatter quickly became of frustration when election returns were delayed.
Easily the most divisive issue on the ballot, everyone was expecting to see some results, but then it didn't happen.
"The trend nationally is against fluoridation," said Spokesperson Jonathan Hall, "so we might be on the downward slope at this point."
But Tuesday night, the trend was frustration, as it became obvious that months and months of hard work would not be decided until another day. But in the end, it was all worth it to the group calling themselves Wichitans Opposed To Fluoridation.
"Our task was essentially one of just education," Hall said. "Myself, I thought fluoride was a good thing not long ago. As most, probably everyone on our team at one point, thought fluoride was a good thing because that's what our doctors and dentists told us."
The group says access to good oral care is the number one challenge affecting the dental health of low income children and now they challenge the groups who offered grants to pay for fluoridation startup costs to use that money for dental care instead.
"When you look at the cold, hard facts, the research that's been done, the nobel prize winners in the related fields, even the political consensus internationally is that fluoridation is not safe or effective."
Add to the fact that Hall believes there is a lot of money to be made on the issue if it were to pass.
"My suspicion is there's a lot of big money behind the pro-flouoridation push and that's why it keeps coming up," Hall said. "We saw that in our campaign. We saw some excellently produced television commercials and newspaper ads. The pro-flouoridation group has a lot of money behind them."
Hall said that Wichita becomes the 73rd city in North America in the last two years to reject fluoridation in the water supply. Now they want to work with the groups who pushed for the approval of the referendum to find a better way to improve dental hygiene.