Kalispell fluoride proposal defeated

11/06/2002

Not in our water.

That was the message Kalispell voters sent on Tuesday, as they overwhelmingly rejected a fluoridation ballot measure.

Voters were asked whether fluoride should be added to Kalispell’s water supply.

By a strong margin, they said no.

With nine of 10 precincts reporting, 1,499 voters opposed fluoridation, while 2,516 voted in favor of the measure.

It was the only local initiative on the ballot.

Backers of fluoridation, particularly dentists, said it would help fight tooth decay, particularly for disadvantaged groups such as the elderly and people who lack dental insurance.

Opponents described it as compulsory medication, and they raised a host of safety concerns.

The issue reached the ballot after a successful petition drive that gathered signatures from 15 percent of Kalispell’s registered voters.

Fluoridation would have involved adding a fluoride compound to the city’s water supply at a concentration of 1 part per million.

The cost would have been about $41,000, or less than $3 per resident per year.