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Smart Voter
Humboldt County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Measure W
Regulate Additives To Drinking Water
City of Arcata

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 2560 / 37.97% Yes votes ...... 4183 / 62.03% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 5:02pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (19/19)
62.7% Voter Turnout (6743/11283)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the City of Arcata enact the proposed ordinance entitled "Initiative To Regulate Additives To Drinking Water In The City Of Arcata"?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney

This initiative would prohibit the introduction into the City of Arcata's public drinking water supply of any substance that is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where the purpose of the additive is to treat physical or mental functions rather than to make water safe or potable. Additionally, if such a substance is added, it may not contain contaminants that exceed Public Health Goals (PHGs) established by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA). Finally, this initiative would repeal all contrary City laws, regulations or ordinances.

Through a series of comprehensive federal and state laws, public drinking water quality is regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Health Services (DHS). The DHS establishes regulatory standards for contaminants, for example, arsenic, in drinking water. To ensure these standards satisfy EPA criteria, the California OEHHA establishes Public Health Goals (PHGs) for drinking water contaminants. State law recognizes that it may not be economically or technically feasible for the DHS to adopt the PHG as the regulatory standard due to the inability to test for the presence of certain contaminants, or due to the cost to perform such tests. The FDA approves fluoride for use in applications other than public drinking water supplies, such as to bottled water, which may optionally contain fluoride, and topical fluoride applications such as toothpaste, gels and rinses.The FDA does not regulate public drinking water quality, perform a risk assessment of public drinking water contaminants nor approve chemical additives to public drinking water supplies.

The only substance the City adds to drinking water for purposes other than to make it potable is fluoride, which the City has added since 1956, to assist in the prevention of tooth decay. California law requires fluoridation in all public water systems with at least 10,000 service connections, subject to regulation by the DHS. Arcata has approximately 6,500 service connections, and its fluoridation program is therefore voluntary; however, it is subject to DHS regulations and standards.

Arcata uses a fluoride product certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), a non-governmental organization that provides product certification and safety audits for food and drinking water industries. Regular City wide testing for contaminants, including arsenic, lead and mercury, indicates that the NSF grade fluoride product used by Arcata does not add contaminants to the water supply (measured at "non-detect" levels).

The two new regulatory standards established by this initiative would impact the City's fluoridation program by requiring the City to discontinue using NSF certified fluoride, and to test for contaminants at the PHG level rather than at levels required by the DHS regulatory standards.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance or Measure W. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure,please call the elections official's office at 822-5953 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

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Arguments For Measure W Arguments Against Measure W
The public water supply is the most precious resource our City manages.

The decision to enact the public policy of fluoridation in Arcata was accomplished decades ago with reliance on claims of safety and effectiveness. However, as a Congressional investigation on fluoride from 1998 to 2000 reveals, the actual substance, as it is formulated, that is injected into our water supply has never been studied for full toxicological impact on consumers, and is now reported as containing significant amounts of arsenic, lead, and other contaminants.

However, rather than pitting neighbor against neighbor over belief systems about fluoride, a Yes Vote on this measure establishes product quality criteria for any mass medication program and lets the facts rather than rhetoric ensure our safety.

This measure applies to any substance added to the public drinking water for the purpose of treating or preventing disease in humans, and does not apply to substances such as chlorine which are used for making water safe or more fit to drink.

It prohibits the use of a substance for mass medication for which the supplier has not first received specific approval for claims of safety and effectiveness from the U.S. FDA showing protection at the full range of human consumption, and it restricts the level of contaminants to the scientifically derived points of safety established by the California EPA as Public Health Goals for lifetime consumption.

This measure does not require that the FDA assume oversight responsibilities for water additives;rather it is identified, as the public is aware, as the only agency in the nation that may approve claims of safety and effectiveness for treating or preventing disease.

See responses to the Congressional investigation at

Enact requirements most of us thought were already in place. Vote Yes on Measure W!

s/ Noel F.Hilliard
s/ Mark Dubrow
s/ Bruce LeBel
s/ Bob Ornelas, Former Mayor of Arcata
s/ Elizabeth Mackay

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Arguments for Measure W sound good but they don't hold water. They ignore the Clean Water Act and the fact that there are NO DETECTABLE TOXINS IN ARCATA'S WATER.

The Clean Water Act does not consider fluoride a "drug" in tap water because fluoride occurs naturally in water.The Environmental Protection Agency is the only agency authorized to regulate fluoride in community water. The FDA has no authority to regulate community drinking water. Check their website yourself: http//

The FDA has already approved fluoride as safe and effective in toothpaste, supplements and bottled water, which are products under its jurisdiction.

The EPA has repeatedly found that fluoride added to community water to protect teeth is safe.

Despite scary talk about poisons, in 50 years NOarsenic or lead has been found in Arcata's water. See the city's water quality report at http// won't even find arsenic or lead listed, because the report only lists substances found at detectable levels.

Antigo, Wisconsin stopped water fluoridation in 1960. By 1965, 2nd grade children had 200% more tooth decay, so Antigo re-instituted fluoridation. Let's not make that mistake.

Arcatans care about social justice. Because we care for all our neighbors, rich or poor, we join Arcata's community and healthcare leaders in supporting continued water fluoridation.

It's safe. It's fair. It works. Support facts, not fear. Vote NO ON MEASURE W!

s/Robert Gearheart, Ph.D.
s/ Beth Abels, M.D.
s/ Barry Lee, D.D.S.
s/Joan Tempas, R.N.
s/ Jim Test, Former Arcata Mayor

Make no mistake, the "Safe Water" measure isn't about keeping Arcata's water safe - it is about removing the beneficial effects of fluoridation from our community.

Water fluoridation is safe. Over 60 years of scientific research has confirmed this repeatedly. Consumer Reports says "The simple truth is there is no 'scientific controversy' over the safety of fluoridation. The practice is safe, economical and beneficial." Water fluoridation works. It prevents cavities and tooth loss. It is so safe and so effective that the Centers for Disease Control hailed fluoridation as one of the "top 10 Public Health Measures of the 20th Century."

Water fluoridation is fair. It protects the dental health of young and old, well-off and disadvantaged alike. It is the safest and most economical way to provide cavity-fighting benefits for all people.

It is hard for many of our residents to get to a dentist and even harder for them to pay for dental services. Removing fluoride from our water will only make this problem worse for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Progressive Arcatans voted to fluoridate our water 50 years ago because they felt an obligation to protect the dental health of all citizens. Do we want to take a step backwards by removing it now? Don't be fooled by this ballot measure. For accurate information about fluoride visit


s/ Thea Gast, former Mayor
s/ Connie Stewart, Former Mayor City of Arcata
s/ Garry T.Eagles, Ph.D., County Superintendent of Schools
s/ Siddiq Kilkenny, Head Start Director
s/ John Sullivan, M.D., Pediatrician

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Safe Water Measure would create two additional criteria designed to insure the purity and safety of our drinking water for all consumers. We can all agree on these more stringent safety standards. First, no added drugs with health claims without FDA approval and second no added contaminates that exceed California Public Health Goals.

If the claims of the health benefits of fluoride are true then Measure W will not stop the addition of fluoride to our drinking water but it will stipulate that the FDA, the only agency in the USA so qualified, to certify those claims of benefit and safety for all consumers at all levels of a lifetime of consumption.

The people of Arcata have never voted on the issue of fluoride, that decision was made by 4 people over 50 years ago, a time when smoking was considered harmless and DDT usage was rampant. Since that time much new evidence has emerged raising serious concerns about the safety of fluoridation.

There has never been a double blind study done on the effectiveness of fluoride.

Fluoridation is not fair. It removes the choice we are all entitled to regarding our personal consumption of drugs. Besides, fluoride is readily and cheaply available to any who want it.Almost all toothpaste has fluoride added to it and most processed foods, cereals and bottled drinks for example, now contain excessive amounts of fluoride.

s/ Mike Callaghan
s/ Lynn Bucquet RN.
s/ Lynda Comerate RN, PHN.

Full Text of Measure W

A statement of the reasons for the enactment of the proposed ordinance is as follows:

Whereas, the public drinking water supply should be maintained for the safety and enjoyment of all consumers at all ranges of consumption; and

Whereas, the City of Arcata as well as other cities in the State of California have added, or are contemplating adding, substances to the public drinking water for the purpose of fulfilling health claims that have been made: and

Whereas, the United States Food and Drug Administration is the only government agency with the authority to approve or reject any claim of safety or effectiveness for any product that is intended to cure, mitigate, treat or prevent any disease in man or animal; and

Whereas, the 1996 California Calderon-Sher Safe Drinking Water Act requires that the California Environmental Protection Agency perform risk assessments on contaminants found in water that establish the scientific endpoints below which it has been determined that no known or anticipated adverse health effects will occur, with a margin of safety that is protective for an entire lifetime of ingestion; and

Whereas, water suppliers adding substances to their public water systems for the purpose of fulfilling health claims have added chemicals that may contain contaminants such as lead, arsenic, and mercury at levels that exceed these scientifically derived endpoints known as Public Health Goals; therefore,

Be it enacted by the People of the City of Arcata:

Restrictions on the introduction of any preventive agent to the public drinking water supplies of the City of Arcata for purposes other than making water more potable.

Section 1. In order to ensure that the public water of the City of Arcata is safe to drink, it shall be unlawful and a public nuisance for any person, agent, or any public or private water system, to introduce, add or maintain any product, substance, or chemical to the public water supplies for the purpose of treating or affecting the physical or mental functions of the body of any person, rather than to treat water to make water safe or potable such as in the use of chlorine, unless the substance meets the following criteria:

a) The substance must be specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness with a margin of safety that is protective for all adverse health and cosmetic effects at all ranges of unrestricted consumption.

b) The substance, measured at industry-standardized Maximum Use Levels for the specific compound, shall contain no contaminants of the specific compound at concentrations that exceed scientifically-derived points of safety established by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment as California Public Health Goals for those contaminants.

Section 2. If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity may not affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

Section 3. All laws, regulations, resolutions, or ordinances of the City of Arcata to the contrary are hereby repealed.

Submitted By:
s/ Noel F.Hilliard
s/ Elizabeth Mackay
s/ Peter R.Williams

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