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Alaska’s anti-vaxx mayor turns off city’s water fluoridation for hours, later learns it’s illegal

“We have not had a single report from a member who works at the facility that this was of concern to them or that they had been harmed in any way by adding the fluoride to the water system,” Aaron Plikat, business agent at United Association Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 367, said in a phone interview with Alaska Public Radio. 

Plikat says workers wear the appropriate safety gear to handle the fluoride, telling The New York Times it “does a fantastic job.”

The fluoridation was halted for about five hours, according to Young’s statement. 

Fluoride has been flowing in Anchorage’s taps for decades, but, now local officials are wondering whether Bronson may have been inspired by Alaska’s vocal anti-fluoride movement, a small but growing group that falsely believes that fluoride lowers IQs and increases cancer. 

In 2017, the Anchorage Assembly killed a ballot initiative to end fluoridation in the city’s water, but that hasn’t stopped activists from fighting. 

“I’m not against applying fluoride topically as needed,” Emily Kane, a Juneau-based naturopathic physician and fluoridation critic told Alaska Public Radio in 2017. “But I didn’t think it was good judgment to medicate the entire population.”

Juneau, the state capital, shut off its fluoride system over a decade ago, with the cities of Fairbanks and Palmer soon following. 

“Alaska has one of the lowest rates of fluoridated water access per population in the U.S., which is really sad because they voluntarily chose to turn off programs that were working,” Jennifer Meyer, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Alaska Anchorage, told the Times

Vice chair of the Anchorage Assembly, Christopher Constant, a Democrat, is investigating the reasons behind Bronson’s decision to shut off the fluoride. He told the Times via text that he isn’t sure of the facts yet, “But if proven true, this fits squarely into the Venn diagram of antiscience arguments so common these days: Covid denial, antivaccine rhetoric, and antifluoride politics.”

Bronson made headlines in September for comparing vaccine mandates to the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Bronson took to Facebook to discuss his burgeoning coronavirus numbers, but instead of talking about masking up and getting the vaccine, he chose to indict “some employers forcing employees who chose not to be vaccinated to lose their jobs” as the reason behind hospital “staffing shortage.”

Also reported by The Alaska Landmine, Anchorage Police Chief Kenneth McCoy, a 27-year veteran and the city’s first Black police chief, will be stepping down on Feb. 1, 2022. The outlet reports that according to multiple sources, McCoy is leaving after a series of improper demands by Bronson and Municipal Manager Amy Demboski. 

One of the alleged demands was: “that Mayor Bronson’s office ordered Chief McCoy to have APD officers enter Anchorage medical facilities in order to “rescue” a man sick with COVID and/or compel medical providers to treat the man with Ivermectin,” according to the Landmine.

The unnamed sources also said that the Bronson administration instructed McCoy to have “doctors, nurses, or other hospital personnel who attempted to interfere with APD’s operation arrested.”

Bronson’s team denies the allegations. 

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