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A citizens group has submitted petitions with over 11,500 signatures, calling on the city of Wichita to add fluoride to its drinking water. The group, called Wichitans for Healthy Teeth, delivered the petitions to city hall Friday morning. The signatures are now being validated.
Wichita mayor Carl Brewer says this will bring the issue to the city council within the next few weeks, and the council will have to decide whether to move ahead with fluoridation, or put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide. Once the petitions are certified, the city council will have 20 days to adopt an ordinance on fluoridation or call for an election. That would place the issue on the August 21st city council agenda. If the council decides to call for an election, it must be held within 90 days of that decision, and the vote may be held in conjunction with the general election in November.
The mayor says the council will have to determine what will be in the best interest of the citizens of Wichita, and he says the issue also extends to other communities that get their drinking water from Wichita.
The issue has generated heated debate in the past. Another group, called Pure Water for Wichita, has been sending e-mails to city council members and others to voice health concerns from the addition of fluoride to the water.