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Santa Rosa NAACP Opposes Water Fluoridation as Greater Risk for People of Color


Santa Rosa NAACP Opposes Water Fluoridation
as Greater Risk for People of Color

Resolution of the Santa Rosa-Sonoma County NAACP Opposing Fluoridation of Our Public Water Supply

Whereas, studies have found that in fluoridated communities, African-American and Latino children are at greater risk for dental fluorosis (discolored teeth from damaged tooth enamel caused by fluoride exposure) and,

Whereas, a blue-ribbon panel of scientists has identified kidney patients and diabetics as being especially susceptible to harm from ingested fluorides and African-Americans suffer disproportionate amounts of kidney disease and diabetes in America, and

Whereas the Centers for Disease Control says that babies under 6 months should get NO fluoride and if the public water supply is fluoridated powdered formula would have to be mixed with bottled water.

Whereas, Harvard University researchers concluded in July 2012, that results “support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment and concluded that “children in high fluoride areas “had significantly lower IQ’s than those who live in low fluoride areas” and,

Whereas, commonly used fluoridation chemicals cause increased absorption of lead, and this lead- absorbing effect is more pronounced in black & Latino populations (which are already over-exposed to lead) and,

Whereas, it is estimated more than 24 tons of fluoride per year would pass into the environment through irrigation of home yards and parks and whereas fluoride has a variety of adverse environmental impacts on aquatic organisms, and

Whereas, new state data shows unfluoridated Portland, Oregon kids actually have lower cavity rates than kids in Oregon’s fluoridated cities, and

Whereas, former Ambassador Andrew Young, one of many civil rights leaders opposed to fluoride, has pointed out that: “we…have a cavity epidemic today in our inner cities that have been fluoridated for decades”

Now Therefore Be it Resolved that the Sonoma-Santa Rosa NAACP opposes the addition of fluoride to our public drinking water as citizens have no choice in the matter and research indicates that people of color are disproportionately negatively affected by fluoride, and

Further Be It Resolved, the Sonoma-Santa Rosa NAACP calls attention to the fact that this is a Civil Rights Issue that damages people of color disproportionately to whites, and

Further Be It Resolved, that we call for adequate dental care for all children but oppose the addition of toxic fluoride to our drinking water because of known hazards, and lack of adequate research into the unknowns, particularly regarding the impact on children, and

Finally be it Resolved, that the Sonoma County-Santa Rosa NAACP will forward this Resolution to our Board of Supervisors in hopes they will further study the issue of fluoridation and the negative impact upon special populations.



Coalition of African American Pastors Oppose Water Fluoridation

As President of the Coalition of African American Pastors I am writing to document our opposition to water fluoridation. In learning about the developments surfacing now, we cannot support the idea of adding the chemical fluoride to drinking water. There are several reasons for this.

1. African Americans are at greater risk for so many diseases today, and since the National Research Council has stated that kidney patients and diabetics are especially vulnerable to harm from ingested fluorides, and since we all know that blacks are deeply affected by kidney and diabetes ailments, supporting fluoridation that provides uncontrolled dosing of fluorides does not make sense.

2. Fluoridation takes away people's choice - many people can't afford unfluoridated bottled water or a home water fluoride removal system. So these families have no choice but to drink fluoridated water if it comes into their homes. If people want fluorides, they can use fluoridated toothpaste. This retains people's choice.

3. Research shows that black children ingest significantly more fluorides than white children, and that black Americans have more staining of their teeth that demonstrates excessive intake of fluorides as a child.

4. Putting fluoride in water assumes a one-size-fits-all approach, that all people, regardless of body weight or medical history, can drink unlimited amounts of water with fluoride in it. As pastors we believe the Biblical truth that our bodies are the temple of God, and that we have a responsibility to take care of these temples. So we must take issue with bringing into our bodies unknown amounts this substance fluoride that comes at us from all directions in foods made with fluoridated water, beverages, water, drugs, pesticide and fumigant residues, etc. 

Attempting to prevent cavities by medicating us in drinking water does not resonate as being a smart thing to do. We cannot support water fluoridation, and we encourage church members to educate themselves about this issue.


Reverend William Owens

The Coalition of African American Pastors

www.caapusa. org


As a pediatrician who has dedicated my life’s work to advocating for vulnerable, underserved children, this article makes me very sad.  It was because of all of the Latino children in my practice that developed numerous cavities before they even turned 3, that I became an advocate for oral health and for community water fluoridation. 

In that role, I have reviewed an enormous amount of published research related to fluoride, dating back to the 1920’s, and through 2014.   Having done so, I feel sad and disappointed that the NAACP has been swayed by the misinformation about fluoride that is, unfortunately, so widely disseminated on the internet.  This action is doing such a disservice to all children, but particularly those children of color who have traditional been underserved and had difficulty accessing professional dental decay.  Community water fluoridation is highly effective in preventing  and available to everyone, regardless of your income or your skin color.

We face persistent and enormous disparities in the dental health status of US children and adults in the United States; community water fluoridation is an important public health prevention strategy to narrow the gap in the oral health status between “the haves” and “the have-nots” in the United States.  There will always be people who prefer not to drink water with fluoride in it and they can opt out if they want , but to deny community water fluoridation to the millions and millions of children who really need it so that they can develop strong teeth that are more resistant to dental decay—that is perpetuating an injustice. 

To have your attention focused on fluorosis, which is usually so mild as to not even be noticeable, is wrong.  Not only because it is UNTRUE that children of color have more fluorosis,  but because this distracts from the real problem of children suffering advanced dental decay and toothaches and young adults having so few teeth that they need dentures.  Mild to moderate fluorosis has been around forever because some water supplies naturally contain even higher levels of fluoride than in community water fluoridation.  And teeth with this degree of fluorosis, which is actually quite unusual in the US, are stronger and  more resistant to cavities. 

Understanding the facts about community water fluoridation is critically important.  Community water fluoridation was developed to replicate a naturally occurring phenomenon that came to light in the 1920’s.  In those days children who grew up in communities with a water supply that was naturally fluoridated had many fewer cavities.  This was a big deal back then because dental decay and toothaches and early tooth loss were commonplace.  And those who suffered the most from dental disease were Black Americans.  Read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” for a heart breaking account of what it was like to be a young Black child in the South with a toothache. 

Community water fluoridation is why our dental health as a population has improved so dramatically over the last 70 years. To continue to address dental health disparities, we need more communities with community water fluoridation not fewer.  We also need to improve access to dental care and improve our diets but not at the expense of the foundation of healthy teeth, which is community water fluoridation.

Fluoride is naturally present in all bodies of water, in the earth’s crust, and in all living things.  Fluoride is a natural part of all of our diets. When you drink a cup or a glass of tea, you are probably drinking more fluoride than is present in 8 or more glasses of water in a  community with water fluoridation because tea naturally contains fluoride.

Some water supplies already contain enough fluoride naturally to be effective in preventing cavities.  In other communities, a miniscule amount more of fluoride is added to bring it up to the effective level.  We are talking about 1 tablespoon of fluoride in 1300 gallons of water.  This is not medication.  This is prevention.  Just like taking a small amount of iron prevents anemia, taking a small amount of fluoride prevents dental decay. 

There is a huge body of evidence supporting the safe and beneficial effects of community water fluoridation.  Community water fluoridation does not cause bone problems or cancer or kidney problems or problems with IQ.  This has been studied extensively.  It prevents dental decay—plain and simple.  Folks who try to convince you that there are high quality research studies that say fluoride is unsafe are misinformed and do not know the totality of the evidence.  They like to pick a few poor quality studies that make their point and ignore the rest of the research.  That’s not OK.

Charlotte Lewis


In Sonoma County we have a wonderful in-school dental program that not only teaches children how to care for their teeth - examines their teeth, etc. but while the kids are passing through the exam process - heath teachers are showing the rest of the class how to avoid sugary drinks, floss and brush their teeth. This is an underfunded program yet teaches children a lifelong practice of caring of their teeth and their bodies through avoiding sugary beverages, etc.  Personally, I’d rather see the millions of dollars that would go toward fluoridating our water supply put into educating our children. ~ Vesta


You can buy bottled water or a reverse osmosis device for your tap water - Charlotte Lewis -


A reverse osmosis device that takes all water entering a home as opposed to just the kitchen tap water - for people with sensitivities who may not want to bathe in it, etc. ?

Do you think that’s an economically viable option? I know that carbon filters don’t take fluoride out of water. 

Bottled water is very expensive and one of the reasons people who don’t trust tap water buy soda instead of bottled water. The Center for Disease Control has the ReThink Your Drink public service campaign that tells people to not buy soda and other sugary drinks when what they want is water. The campaign is for heathy bodies as well as healthy teeth.

I am very happy to support the Santa Rosa NAACP’s opposition to water fluoridation.  Charlotte Lewis’s comment seems sincere.  She does not, however provide scientific backup for her allegations about the effects of fluoride on human health.  Call me old-fashioned, but the evidence quoted by the Fluoride Action Network ( makes far more sense, and encourages me to avoid fluoridated water.

Karl Frederick