Iowa LULAC discourages use of fluoride in public drinking water

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Dec. 4, 2013

DES MOINES - The League of United Latin Americans of Iowa is calling on Des Moines Water Works to eliminate fluoride from the public drinking water supply.

“This is a matter of choice and should not be a mandatory thing,” said Joe Enriquez Henry, state director of LULAC of Iowa. “It amounts to forced medication on the public without its consent.”

Iowa LULAC and National LULAC believe mass fluoridation is a civil rights violation and forces the use of fluoride, which is a byproduct of several chemicals.

“The public water supply system should not be used as a method to deliver fluoride,” Enriquez Henry said.

In 2011, National LULAC passed a resolution against the use of fluoride in public drinking water, saying: “The purpose of a public water supply is to supply water to the entire community, which is composed of people with varying health conditions, in varying stages of life, and of varying economic status; not to forcibly mass medicate the population, which is a civil rights violation.”

While proponents of fluoride have praised its use for a decrease in tooth decay, studies have shown potential ill effects from the use of fluoride over time. Dental fluorosis, which is a discoloration or pitting of the surface of teeth, has shown to occur from excess fluoride exposure. Other studies have shown the potential for neurotoxic effects and an increased risk in types of bone cancer. Fluoride deposits in bones and teeth.

“Even though the levels of fluoride added to public drinking water have decreased within the past few years as a result of the realized negative effects from too much exposure, there is obviously more that needs to be studied in terms of its long-term use,” Enriquez Henry said. “The debate needs to continue so the issue can be adequately examined from all sides.” 

Some U.S. cities have eliminated fluoride from their public drinking water, as have many countries.

Des Moines Water Works in 2010 released a report saying that residents who do not want to be exposed to fluoride, even those who are low income, can purchase water from retail stores or install a point-of-use treatment system on their home faucet.

Enriquez Henry said this is not acceptable for those who do not want fluoride exposure. Almost 33 percent of the Latino population lived in poverty in 2011, according to the State Data Center of Iowa. The statewide poverty rate was 12.8 percent for 2011.

“The Latino population suffers from poverty at a higher rate,” Enriquez Henry said. “Why should they or anyone else have to purchase additional water, beyond what they already pay to Des Moines Water Works, if they want it to be fluoride free?”

Founded in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens is the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. There are more than 880 local LULAC councils, which hold voter registration drives, provide awareness to residents about language and immigration issues, sponsor programs and advocate for Latinos.

For more information, contact Joe Enriquez Henry at 515.208.7312; or Melissa Walker at 515.681.7731 or, or visit



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