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Sonoma council split on fluoride

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A divided Sonoma City Council is going to continue its discussion in March on whether to publicly oppose adding fluoride to the county’s drinking water.

Mayor David Cook put forward the issue Wednesday night, asking fellow council members to consider sending a letter to Sonoma County supervisors to show their opposition to fluoridation. After listening to numerous dentists, anti-fluoridation activists and residents on both sides of the issue, council members voted 3-2 to redraft a letter and bring it back for further discussion.

Councilwoman Rachel Hundley wanted the letter to outline more specifically some of the city’s concerns, such as the ones brought forward by Councilman Gary Edwards.

“I’ve talked to doctors. I’ve talked to quite a few folks,” Edwards said during the meeting. “I don’t really want to have it in my food. I don’t really want it in my wine. I don’t want it in my meal.”

Cook, Hundley and Edwards voted in favor of redrafting the letter and bringing it back for discussion next month. Councilwomen Laurie Gallian and Madolyn Agrimonti opposed the measure, saying they still didn’t have enough information to make any kind of decision.

“I don’t like making decisions when I don’t have a lot of information,” Agrimonti said. “I’d rather give a slow yes than a quick no.”

County health officials are pushing for fluoridation, saying it is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay and reduce dental care costs. A recent survey revealed 51 percent of Sonoma County kindergartners and third-graders experience tooth decay.

Critics argue the chemical could cause severe health effects and should not be forced down residents’ throats.

Recommendations are expected to go before the Sonoma County supervisors later this year.

The city of Sonoma gets about 95 percent of its water from the Sonoma County Water Agency, which also provides drinking water for Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Windsor, Valley of the Moon and parts of Marin.

You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 521-5458 or eloisa.gonzalez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @eloisanews.

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