Snowmass Water seeks public input on fluoride
The Aspen Times
The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District plans to review its decision to stop fluoridating its drinking water.
The district’s board called a special meeting Friday after receiving a slew of comments both supportive and critical of its July 17 decision. It decided to conduct a survey to find out how its customers feel about the topic and take another vote in October.
“This is going to be a very simple survey: ‘Do you want Snowmass Village Water and San District to fluoridate the drinking water here?’” said Kit Hamby, manager of the Water and Sanitation District.
Hamby said he hopes to mail out the survey Aug. 28 and leave it open for about a month. Customers also can comment at http://www.swsd.org. Auditors will review the results.
The Denver public water system also is taking a look at its fluoridation practice. It held a public forum last month with a panel of experts from both sides of the issue. Hamby recommends customers watch a video recording from that forum, available on the district’s website or at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/fluoride-public-meeting.
“We’d be hard-pressed to get experts like that up here in Snowmass, so it’s a great resource to give people sort of a balanced view of discussions on both sides,” Hamby said.
While the Denver board is taking comments from anyone, Hamby said Snowmass is going to reserve comments for the Snowmass Village and Brush Creek Road residents it serves.
The survey will serve an advisory capacity only. The board of directors is the decision-making body for the district.
Snowmass board member David Dawson, who has most strongly advocated for discontinuing fluoridation, argued that there isn’t enough research on the potential negative impacts fluoride has on overall health and that it isn’t the district’s “business to medicate the public.” The board voted 3-1 in support of discontinuing the practice.
At the first council meeting following the decision, Mayor Markey Butler said she’d like the town to aid in facilitating more discussion, as some residents felt blind-sided by the change. Many customers said they didn’t know the vote was happening at the meeting, which was attended by two dental-health professionals and a journalist. Residents also spoke out on both sides of the issue at the Aug. 3 council meeting.
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