A half century ago, Johnson County citizens voted to add fluoride to their water. Wichita turned it down.
Wichita turned it down again in 1978 and again in 2012. That makes Wichita one of the largest cities in the nation without fluoride in its water. Nearly three-fourths of all Americans live in communities where there is fluoridation.
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We would be guffawing at the ignorance of a majority of Wichita voters who believe all the bunk about fluoridation that has been proved false, except for the fact that a state legislator from Wichita wants to infect the rest of Kansas with their dark-ages approach to tooth decay.
While we know for certain that fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent, there are a whole host of goblins that opponents of fluoridation bring out to confuse the public.
This particular legislator from Wichita, Rep. Steve Brunk, has introduced a bill that would require communities in Kansas that fluoridate their water to issue a warning that “the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride levels lowers the IQ in children.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fluoridation is fine for infants and fine for children.
The CDC has said emphatically that fluoridation — and they have studied this extensively — not only does not reduce intelligence, but it also does not cause cancer, thyroid disease or fluorosis, which is mottling of tooth enamel.
In fact, the CDC has declared fluoridation one of the most significant steps forward in health in the 20th century.
It was not easy getting passage here, even in enlightened areas like Johnson County.
I remember when fluoridation was a hot issue in Johnson County back in the mid-’60s, and at that time one of the biggest bugaboos was the notion that Communists were behind putting fluoride into American drinking water in order to control their minds. There are still opponents today who espouse mind control as a reason for prohibiting it.
Fluoride doesn’t just come from humans adding it to drinking water or toothpaste. It naturally occurs in water in abundance without our help.
That is why the Environmental Protection Agency recommends the least amount of fluoride necessary to fight dental decay, which — for those of you who embrace numerical minutiae — comes down to 0.7 parts per million. That amount is what is in the drinking water of Johnson County, meeting the EPA guidelines.
We are gearing ourselves up to wage an extensive battle against those who would bring the biases from Wichita and inject them into the rest of the state.
Frankly, we probably would copy and publish excerpts from the Tampa Bay Times, which just won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of 10 in-depth editorials defending fluoridation.
Pinellas County, which includes Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg, Fla., has a population of 700,000, and in 2011 a majority of its commissioners voted to stop using fluoride in the water. This was one of the largest communities in America to take such a step.
Due, in great part, to the newspaper’s exposing the fallacies of the opponents’ arguments, the decision was reversed a year later.
The anti-fluoridation movement in Kansas, originating from Wichita and spreading to the Capitol, has got to be stopped in its tracks.
A hearing before the House Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled for today.
What we need now is an outcry from Johnson County to tell Topeka to keep their hands off our water and our teeth.