COMMENT: This article makes some astounding connections– that Watsonville must force-medicate its population due to a supposed “dental-decay epidemic” effecting migrant workers ‘with the worst teeth outside Nicaragua’ “who are unable to afford toothpaste and brush only with water.” We are in communication with dental practitioners in the city and will follow up with a later report as to the veracity of these claims once we have their statements on the record.

Further, Watsonville’s most important business, Martinelli cider, believes that fluoridation is “morally and ethically bad for your body” and is thus considering moving to another location if fluoride is added. To stop a resulting jobloss, Watsonville says it will consider, first, adding fluoride to its water, then paying the expensive cost to remove fluoride from Martinelli’s supply, “depite facing a $5 million deficit.” Does any of this make any sense?

Steve Chawkins
L.A. Times
February 16, 2010

That was this month, as the council inched toward finally fluoridating the city’s water — a state-mandated action that has been bitterly debated since city residents narrowly voted to block it in 2002. At a council meeting in January, an anti-fluoridation activist held up a sign alluding to Nazis. When speakers threatened to boycott local businesses if fluoridation goes through, a council member told them to jump off the parking-garage roof.

[efoods]Health officials say that Watsonville, with a large population of migrant workers, is in the throes of a dental-decay epidemic. One study of local students found an average of two dental abscesses in every classroom, not to mention an outsize number of cavities.

Still, one of the biggest employers in town — the Martinelli beverage company, famous for its sparkling apple cider — said it would rather move a planned expansion elsewhere than use fluoridated water in a new line of juices.

“We believe fluoride is bad for your body so, morally and ethically, we simply cannot put that water in our products,” said John Martinelli, president of S. Martinelli & Co., his family’s business for 142 years. “If half the people in this town don’t want to be mass-medicated, then we shouldn’t be.”

“What we’re talking about is our growth opportunity,” said Martinelli, who says the expansion could add dozens of workers to his 200-person staff. “Watsonville won’t benefit from the growth of our business if I have to take it somewhere else.”

Despite facing a $5 million deficit, city officials said they might help Martinelli pay for the high-tech equipment required to remove fluoride from water.


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