DHS and Fluoridation
WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT DHS & FLUORIDATION?
For the past several years, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) has been actively promoting what it calls Community Water Fluoridation (CWF), pressuring the Board of Supervisors to add fluoride to all water sold by the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), wholesale water supplier to most of Sonoma County’s largest cities and water districts, and the North Marin Water District (NMWD).
The DHS graphic shows only SCWA’s Sonoma County customers. SCWA supplies Marin County water customers, NMWD, serving Novato, and Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD), serving communities in Southern Marin, especially along the Highway 101 corridor. MMWD buys 25% of its water from SCWA, which MMWD fluoridates, as it does its locally sourced water. North Marin prefers its water unfluoridated, but would have no choice if SCWA fluoridates its water at the top of its supply chain.
ISN’T OUR WATER FLUORIDATED ALREADY?
In Sonoma County, only the City of Healdsburg fluoridates its drinking water. In 1952, the first time the fluoridation establishment tried to fluoridate Sonoma County water, activists now in their 80s and older prevented fluoridation in Santa Rosa, but not in Healdsburg. Other Sonoma County cities might have rejected fluoridation then too, but undigitized mid-20th century municipal records are a challenge to access, and surviving eye-witnesses are rare.
As in Sonoma County in 1952, when water fluoridation is attempted one community at a time, “success” is dificult. That’s the reason the fluoridation establishment is pushing for more state-wide fluoridation mandates like California’s AB733 (1995).
For a city or water district to fall under California’s fluoridation mandate, it must have 10,000 or more active water connections. NOTE: In practical terms, an active connection = a water bill.
Instead of slogging through fluoridation campaigns city by city, risking a repeat of the defeats of 1952, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) decided to make its play for fluoridation through the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA).
In a classic case of overreach, the DHS plan attempts to gather up, not only Santa Rosa and Petaluma, but all the smaller cities and water districts served by SCWA, communities that don’t fall under the California fluoridation mandate, and could not otherwise be pressured to fluoridate. In Sonoma County, only the cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma have 10,000 or more active water connections, and both cities have other legal grounds on which to dispute the applicability of the state mandate .
WHO DECIDES ABOUT FLUORIDATION?
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors does double duty as the governing board of SCWA. Because the proposed fluoridating agency is SCWA, a water wholesaler with only 156 active connections, the California fluoridation mandate doesn’t apply, so the decision whether or not to fluoridate SCWA water is entirely at the discretion of our five Sonoma County Supervisors.
The DHS’ plan does not require or permit a Sonoma County residents to vote on the proposed water fluoridation plan.
Before making such a big decision, the Board of Supervisors needs full information. Unfortunately the Board delegated responsibility for information gathering to DHS, including commissioning the fluoridation reports.
Because water fluoridation is one of the Four Pillars of US Public Health policy, the lead on the project is the Sonoma County Public Health Officer, currently Karen Milman, MD, MPH. The proposed fluoridation project has the active and unquestioning support of DHS staff from bottom to top.
DHS CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Because Sonoma County water fluoridation is a DHS campaign, DHS has an insurmountable conflict of interest.
It would have taken exceptional integrity on the part of our County Health Officer to have insured that the Board receive full and impartial information, or to have suggested that DHS recuse itself.
The Board of Supervisors has requested, and Sonoma County residents have paid for have paid for the following fluoridation-related reports: Sonoma County Smiles Report, as well as studies on fluoridation engineering logistics, fluoridation costs (and potential cost savings), and potential fluoridation environmental risks.
What’s New: The update on Dental Health in Sonoma County for the Board of Supervisors will not be on the May 19, 2015 meeting agenda. The item has been delayed. posted May 13, 2015. To submit comments, please email email@example.com
Fluoridation Advisory Committee Document Archive
Fluoridation Advisory Committee
The County Department of Health Services convened the Fluoridation Advisory Committee under the auspices of the County Board of Supervisors. It is the purpose of the committee to:
- Provide advice on oral health fluoridation issues
- Review information on engineering proposals
- Gather relevant data
- Facilitate broad community input
- Develop recommendations for consideration by the Department
Fluoridation Advisory Committee Recommendations to the Department of Health Services (pdf) posted March 17, 2015
Presentation: Fluoridation Facilities Preliminary Design (pdf) posted December 8, 2014
Fluoridation Preliminary Engineering Design Report (pdf) posted December 2, 2014
Comments from FAC Member Organizations RE: Aquatic Assessment Report (pdf) posted December 4, 2014
Draft Aquatic Assessment Report (pdf) posted October 21, 2014
Presentation: Sonoma County 2014 Smile Survey (pdf) posted November 10, 2014
Sonoma County Smile Survey: An Oral Health Assessment of Sonoma County Kindergarten and Third Grade Children (pdf) posted November 10, 2014
(Draft) 2014 Oral Health Screening of Healdsburg Kindergarten and Third Graders (pdf) posted November 10, 2014
Presentation: The Cost of Dental Disease and Prevention Strategies in Sonoma County (pdf) updated December 5, 2014
fluoridation infrastructure funding sources
Where’s the proof we need fluoride in our water?
Where’s the proof fluoridated water is safe to drink?
Where’s the proof fluoridated water reduces tooth decay at all, much less the 25% reduction currently claimed?
Where’s the proof that the full costs of fluoridation will be provided completely by an outside source, including maintenance, for the projected 30 years in the DHS proposal?
Where’s the proof that putting fluoride in our water is going to save our State, our County, or any of us, even the smallest amount of money over what we are spending on oral health now?
– Prove decay rates go down 25% with water fluoridation (they can’t);
– Provide “evidence based studies” for fluoride’s safety for human ingestion (there are none);
– Demonstrate that the costs of fluoridation will completely be provided by an outside source, including maintenance, for the projected 30 years in their proposal (this has not ever happened in California).
According to the mission statement on the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS)homepage, its “fundamental responsibility” is “protecting the health and well-being of individuals and the community.”
But without ongoing oversight from we the people, and from our elected officials, it’s possible for civil servants to fall into an unquestioning rigidity, sometimes with unintended and potentially dangerous consequences.
One example is the current DHS campaign to add fluoride to all tapwater supplied to customers of the Sonoma County Water Agency.
Community water fluoridation (CWF), otherwise known as artificial water fluoridation, is one of the Four Pillars of US Public Health policy. The United States is one of the few countries promoting water fluoridation to reduce tooth decay.
According to the CDC, in 2012, approximately 210.7 million US residents (74.6% of the U.S. residents served by public water systems received artificially fluoridated water, an
increase of 6 million over 2010. According to the New York Times (3/2/2012), “The federal government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative aims to have 80 percent of Americans receiving fluoridated water within the next eight years.”
DHS’ years-long effort to force fluoridation on customers of the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) is part of that one-size-fits -all push.
Rita Scardaci, Director
Dr. Karen Milman, Public Health Officer
Kim Caldewey, Health Program Manager, Sonoma County Public Health
Sonoma County Department of Health Services
3313 Chanate Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
A MESSAGE FROM DAWNA
We at Clean Water Sonoma Marin ask all of you to join us in focusing on the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) as it continues to push for fluoride in our drinking water.