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Wichita Rejects Putting Fluoride In Water

By: Jared Cerullo / Lily Wu / Associated Press Email
By: Jared Cerullo / Lily Wu / Associated Press Email

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UPDATE: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wichita voters have rejected an initiative to add fluoride to the city's water.

Unofficial results from Tuesday's vote showed 59 percent of the voters rejected the proposal.

Wichita voted down similar fluoride initiatives in 1964 and 1978.

Opponents contend fluoridation has several negative potential side effects, and called it mass medication that would be forced on people who didn't want it.

Supporters had argued fluoridated water fights tooth decay and would save Wichita residents dental pain and money.



UPDATE: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

As of 12:48 a.m, Sedgwick County Election results show Wichita will not fluoridate their water.

More than 125,000 people voted on the issue with 74,788 voters opposing water fluoridation and 50,890 voters supporting it, 59% and 40%, respectively.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

As of 12:06 a.m, Sedgwick County Election results show Wichita will not fluoridate their water.

More than 113,000 people voted on the issue with 66,879 voters opposing water fluoridation and 46,398 voters supporting it, 59% and 40%, respectively.

The two election parties that gathered to watch results in the Wichita fluoride ballot question gave up and went home by 11:00 Tuesday evening.

About 75 people gathered at Office This on East Harry to watch results, but ended up paying more attention to the presidential race when it became obvious that Sedgwick County election results weren't coming in.

"Wichitans Opposed to Fluoride" Spokesperson Jonathan Hall said he was frustrated, but that it's been a long several months of very hard work educating citizens about the issue.

"I haven't worked in the last week," Hall said. "I'm very thankful to my boss for that. We've had many full-time volunteers and a ton of part-time volunteers who have put in a ton of manpower."

Hall said the fluoride issue was at the very core of government intrusion.

"It's very much a personal freedom of choice issue," Hall said. We don't believe that the government has a right to mandate that this goes into our drinking water. Clean drinking water is a basic human right, according to the United Nations. We think this violates that human right."

Meanwhile, a small gathering of fluoride supporters gathered in Northwest Wichita anxiously awaiting results that came just before 11 p.m.

"Same thing that's been going through my mind for the last several months, just the anticipation of waiting to hear the results and hoping for good news, and being proud of Wichita of being able to say we're fluoridated," said Denise Maus, local dental hygienist.

A spokesperson for Wichitans for Healthy Teeth, a coalition of more than 500 medical and dental professionals, say they will continue to educate Kansans on good oral health.


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