City receives citation for NOT fluoridating water

Jon Chown
Register Pajaronian

The City of Watsonville has been cited by the California Department of Public Health for failure to comply with an order by the state to fluoridate the water supply.

The citation was received by the city Thursday and demands written assurance from the city by Aug. 29 that it will comply, and plan and schedule for fluoridation submitted by Sept. 19.

City Attorney Al Smith said the citation appeared “out of the clear blue.”

“We have been in communication with the Department of Health Services,” he said. “I was surprised … but it is what it is.”

Fluoridation has been an issue ever since the City Council first passed a resolution accepting a grant to fluoridate. In February 2002, Flouridation 2010 Workgroup offered the city $946,000 to fluoridate, but in November of that year, Watsonville residents concerned about the safety of fluoridation passed Measure S, banning all substances from the water not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which includes fluoride.

But a state law requires cities to fluoridate if given the funding to do so, and Watsonville lost its battle in court to honor the voters’ wishes. However, that case was decided years ago, and the city and the California Dental Association Foundation have been wrangling over a contract ever since as the city tries to make certain the project will cost it nothing. Of specific concern are lawsuits associated with the project.

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