CREDIT TO FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK
The fluoride-free movement has continued to grow throughout the world at a staggering pace, with more than 400 communities having ended existing fluoridation programs or having rejected new efforts to fluoridate either by council vote or citizen referendum since 1990. In 2013 alone, we’ve confirmed that at least 55 communities with more than 1.2 million residents voted to end fluoridation, bringing the number of victories since 2010 to 134 communities and freeing approximately 4.5 million people from forced water fluoridation. Many of these victories were the result of citizens who organized local campaigns with many working in coordination with FAN or using our materials to educate their neighbors and local decision-makers about the serious health risks associated with the practice. Some of 2013’s victories included large communities, such as:
- Portland, Oregon (pop. 900,000)
- Windsor, Ontario (pop. 279,000)
- Cairns, Australia (pop. 153,000)
- CRESCENT CITY, CA. NOV 6, 2012
In Australia alone, 19 councils representing more than 30 communities and 500,000 people voted to end fluoridation in 2013. Almost all of these councils made their decision after the Queensland State government ended mandatory fluoridation in November of 2012, which gave local councils the authority to make their own decisions regarding fluoridation. That decision, coupled with the efforts of master organizer Merilyn Haines, Director of FAN-Australia, led to these victories. Clearly, the domino effect of councils rejecting the practices showed just how little support there was for fluoridation when it was no longer forced upon them.
Not included in the tally above, are the approximately 5.3 million residents in Israel that may no longer have fluoride added to their drinking water in 2014. On July 29, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that new regulations approved by the current Health Minister require the country to reverse it’s 14 year-old nationwide fluoridation mandate and stop adding fluoride chemicals into public water supplies in 2014. While we have yet to see how many public water supplies in Israel will take advantage of this ruling to end the practice, this major victory is likely to bring the official number of countries in the world with 50% of their population drink fluoridated water down to only 10, and could increase the number of people freed from fluoridation to 6.5 million in 2013, and 9.8 million since 2010.
Ireland isn’t too far behind Australia and Israel in reversing their fluoridation mandate. In recent months legislation to end the nationwide mandate in Ireland was introduced, which would not only reverse the mandate, but would make fluoridation a criminal act. This bill got a significant boost when a major Irish magazine (Hot Press) began investigating fluoridation and found a parliamentary report calling for an end to fluoridation that was suppressed by the government for the past seven years. Just yesterday, the call for reversal of Ireland’s mandate received another big boost when the Labour party’s chief whip, Emmet Stagg called for an end to the practice, saying that time has run out for “mass medication” by adding fluoride to the water supply.
Rejecting Forced Fluoridation
It’s worth noting that the millions of people freed from fluoridation in 2013 does not include the millions of residents who live in the countless communities that have rejected the start of fluoridation programs this year. Only a week and a half ago the council in Byron Shire, Australia (pop. 29,000) voted to reject calls by the dental-lobby to fluoridate the water. But the most significant city that rejected the practice this year was Portland, Oregon—the largest non-fluoridated city in the U.S.–providing water to approximately 900,000 residents in its metro-area.
Only months after voters in Wichita, Kansas rejected a well funded PR and lobbying campaign to fluoridate their city by a vote of 61% to 39%, a broad coalition of Portlanders, led by Clean Water Portland, successfully overturned a city council vote in favor of fluoridation by first collected more than 42,000 signatures from registered voters in less than 30 days, then running a public education campaign that resulted in a 60%-40% vote to reject fluoridation. FAN worked directly with Clean Water Portland throughout this campaign, providing research, educational resources, contacts, contributions, and campaign advice.
Across the Atlantic Ocean in Southampton, United Kingdom, citizen opposition to fluoridation has so far ended plans by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to mandate fluoridation for approximately 200,000 residents. In March, the plan to mandate fluoridation for the entire county of Hampshire, which includes Southampton, was halted after the SHA was scrapped and replaced with Public Health England (PHE). Because the plan was hugely controversial, opposed by citizen groups, and polls showed that 72 percent of residents opposed fluoridation, local councilors have opposed the implementation of fluoridation and called the mandate “dead in the water”.