Residents pushing for non-fluoridated water in city

Special to the Star

The Communities for Thriving Water Fluoride-Free San Marcos coalition has been working to end water fluoridation in the city, and its wish might be granted by the end of May.

The group’s goal is to have water fluoridation on the city council agenda by the end of May, said Kathleen O’Connell, coalition coordinator. After water fluoridation is on the agenda, the group will await the approval of the resolution and an ordinance to take industrial fluoride chemicals out of water by June 30 this year, O’Connell said.

“We want to make a difference and get this out of our water as soon as possible,” O’Connell said.

Fluorosilicic acid is an industrial waste by-product from fertilizer and aluminum factories that is not FDA approved as a drug to prevent cavities, according to the Communities for Thriving Water Fluoride-Free San Marcos press release.

“I have a personal stake in this because I have dental fluorosis, which 30-40% of Americans suffer from, and many people believe the reason is from over exposure to fluoride,” said resident John Bush at the May 6 city council meeting.

The coalition began meeting with the city manager and director of water last June, O’Connell said. After three months of studying the reasons to remove fluoride, the group generated a formal request and summary of their motives.

“One process is to get it on the agenda with the city, and for the mayor and council to vote to pass the resolution and change the city ordinance,” O’Connell said. “The other is to petition to change the city charter.”

So far, 25 businesses around the city have signed the petition, O’Connell said. Currently, the petition has 735 signatures of the 1500 that are needed to get on the agenda.

In support of the coalition, Student Government passed a resolution April 14 stating that Texas State will no longer be a campus fluoridated under the City of San Marcos’ water program, said Taylor Zavala, chair of the environmental services committee.

“The student body is taking a stand against this, and hopefully the City of San Marcos will see that this is a bigger issue than what they thought it was before,” Zavala said.

Before the April 14 decision, the university used non-fluoridated well water in West Campus and the city’s fluoridated water in its east campus, according to a coalition press release.

“What we did was make the city aware of the student legislation at Texas State that Taylor Zavala spearheaded to get passed,” O’Connell said.

Zavala began her interest in the project by working with O’Connell and her community organization. The ideas for a resolution to draft for Student Government came from working with O’Connell, Zavala said.

“It’s important to understand that the campus and the city are one in the same,” O’Connell said.