by Susan Gager
12:08 PM CDT, September 11, 2012
It's been debated for decades and this November voters will decide whether Wichita water will be fluoridated to combat tooth decay. Before that, campaigns on both sides are ramping up their efforts. However Wichita it isn't the only city ready to settle the fluoride debate.
“How to overcome the vocal minority is to mobilize the quiet majority,” said Dr. Sara Meng of Wichitans for Healthy Teeth.
Wichitans for Healthy Teeth hand out voter guides to supporters at a luncheon Wednesday. Their hope is to ensure residents vote to add fluoride to the water because Wichita could soon claim the title as the largest city to go without.
Of the nation's 50 biggest cities, there are only a few who don't fluoridate the water supply.
Honolulu, Hawaii banned additives in their water back in 2004 including fluoride. A majority of their city council sided with opponents of fluoride.
In San Jose, California leaders did vote unanimously in support of fluoridated water, but they haven't been able to raise the millions of dollars needed to pay for it.
In Portland things are heated this week. The mayor announced his support of fluoridation ensuring a majority on the city council. Although there is loud opposition to fluoride there, the city is expected to approve fluoridation on Wednesday.
“If Portland, Oregon fluoridates it's water, Wichita would become the largest city that can't logistically fluoridate it's water and we don't want that distinction because it's not a positive one,” said Meng.
Opponents couldn't disagree more.
“We are not intimidated by the fact that other communities have it. We are encouraged that other communities are rejecting it and we feel certain Wichita will continue to reject fluoridation in the water supply,” said Don Landis of Wichitans Opposed to Fluoridation.
Proponents say in the months ahead of November's public vote, they plan to visit residents at home to gather more support. Fluoride opponents are organizing a similar campaign task-force Wednesday.
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV