April 22, 2019

Archives for August 2012

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 30-Aug-2012

Don’t contaminate our world-class water

By: Kimberly Kaminski, PortlandTribune.com, Portland, Oregon 29-Aug-2012

As Portlanders, we are passionate about our drinking water, which is some of the world’s best.

Protecting our right to clean water is something that brings us together.

It’s not surprising that Portlanders have rejected three attempts to fluoridate our drinking water. What is surprising, however, is that the City Council is poised to ignore the will of the voters and push fluoridation chemicals into our water, and to do so without public input or thoughtful debate.

The announcement of support for the fluoridation plan by Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish in these circumstances is representative government at its worst. Their closed-door meetings with well-funded political consultants representing the fluoridation lobby are one-sided, and likely failed to raise the most fundamental questions about fluoridation chemicals and their risks.

Proponents of fluoridation like to make the “everybody is doing it” argument, but what exactly is it that they want to add to our water?

Many who think that fluoridation is the answer to tooth decay are not aware that the chemicals used to fluoridate water are byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Proponents of fluoridation have admitted this, and it is acknowledged and well-documented by the National Academy of Sciences and other credible experts.

This is the reason Clean Water Portland, a new organization committed to protecting Portland’s water from fluoridation chemicals, recently filed a ballot measure making sure that the city “shall not add any chemical or other substance to the city’s drinking water that is a byproduct of any industrial or manufacturing process …”

This measure does not apply to chemicals used to make water drinkable.

Wholesale dumping

It’s not just the idea of adding an industrial byproduct to Portland’s clean drinking water that is concerning. Like most industrial waste, fluoridation chemicals are far from pure. In fact, 43 percent of fluoridation chemicals tested positive for arsenic contamination. The National Sanitation Foundation also found that fluoridation chemicals tested positive for lead and mercury, but it downplayed the effects of those contaminates.

What parent would knowingly add toxic metals, such as lead, arsenic and mercury, to their child’s diet? Yet this is exactly what we will be doing if we fluoridate Portland’s water.

Several studies have concluded that there is no safe level of lead or arsenic. Even small increases in consumption of these heavy metals increase the risk of cancer, decreased IQ and other serious health consequences.

In addition to the problematic source and contamination of the fluoridation chemicals, a recent flood of scientific studies from credible institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences and Harvard identified serious health risks related to fluoride exposure, ranging from cancer and neurological damage to increased risks of bone fractures and decreased childhood IQ.

We all know children’s dental health is important. There are better ways to promote healthy teeth than wholesale dumping of fluoridation chemicals into Portland’s world-class water.

Kimberly Kaminski is executive director of Oregon Citizens for

Safe Drinking Water, cleanwater portland.org.


Connecting the dots between water chemistry and health

By: Heather Gingerich (Opinion), IngersollTimes.com, Ingersoll, Ontario 29-Aug-2012 Perhaps two-time Nobel prize-winning chemist, physicist and single mother, Marie Curie, offered up the best explanation for why our government appears to be unable to move beyond bacteria when it comes to drinking water safety with health.

“Ordinary mortals communicate rather freely, while intellectuals have succeeded in erecting barriers between them that they don’t know how to dissolve.” Add in public servants scared stiff of being blamed for an environmentally-unfriendly public health protection system, and Madame Curie might be onto something.

With their highly-mineralized (but largely E. coli-free) water supplies, communities like Ingersoll seem to have fallen between the large communication gaps between scientists, policy-makers, health practitioners and the public. A factual error that appeared in last week’s Your Water column (Grade of F in water chemistry for Ingersoll schools) is a good example.

The good news is that Oxford County does indeed have a well-qualified Acting Medical Officer of Health with a degree in medicine named Dr. Douglas Neal. The bad news is that official word that several water supplies in Oxford County fail to meet the Ontario Drinking Water Standard for fluoride (F) concentration of 1.50 mg/L (and what to do about it) has been poorly communicated to caregivers of small children, school boards and the general public.

According to a joint study between by the County of Oxford and University of Waterloo in 2006, 69.3% of the 479 wells tested above 0.50 mg/L (anything but small, green dots on the map above) and are not suitable for formula-fed infants less than 6 months of age.

Furthermore, 15.8% of samples, including Central Public School in East Oxford, most of Ingersoll, the village of Lakeside, Central Public School in Princeton, the Stanley Street Well (#3) in Thamesford, the Plank Line Well (#6A) in Tillsonburg, the Hewitt Street Well (#3) in Bright, the villages of Brownsville and Mount Elgin, most of Springford and several private wells surrounding the Salford landfill site all reported fluoride levels higher than what is considered safe for long-term consumption.

The Canadian Dental Association warns that a daily dose of more than 0.050 milligrams per kilogram body weight from all sources (air, food, prescriptions and supplements, skin absorption and water) places children at risk of developing dental fluorosis, the most obvious sign of fluoride toxicity.

This means children weighing less than 30 kilograms or 66 pounds in the areas with larger red or purple dots in the fluoride concentration map are vulnerable to a variety of negative effects on the whole body (including the Terry Fox type of bone cancer) just from consuming 1 L of water per day. Clearly, alternatives should be sought because the damage is much more than “cosmetic”.

Based on studies released from Harvard, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow issues this warning, “Given the available data, I would recommend that children with learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, depression, attention-deficit disorder or other psychiatric illnesses refrain from drinking fluoridated water,”

Now that’s so straightforward it sounds like it came from an ordinary mortal.


Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 29-Aug-2012

The Battle over Portland’s Water

By: Rick North, TheLundReport.org, Portland, Oregon 22-Aug-2012

For months, there has been a behind-the-scenes, coordinated effort to fluoridate Portland’s water. It only came to light when the Oregonian broke the story August 10th that commissioner Randy Leonard was going to lead the effort. Since then, Nick Fish and Mayor Sam Adams have come out in favor of it, which points to at least a 3-2 vote in the Portland City Council to approve it. There have been reports a vote could be coming quickly, as early as the first or second week in September, but nothing is confirmed yet. When put to a public (instead of city council) vote, Portland’s electorate has turned it down three times, but the last vote was in 1980.

For most of my life, I supported fluoridation. The government had given it a green light and I accepted the commonly-held opinion of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that fluoridation prevented cavities and was demonstrated safe.

But when a few people I respected, including some physicians, raised some questions, I decided to investigate the issue. I was surprised, and chagrined, at what I found. Over the past five years, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours researching the science, history and politics of fluoridation. Besides dozens of specific studies, my main sources have been Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards by the National

Research Council of the National Academies of Science, The Case Against Fluoride by Paul Connett et al, and The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson. The National Academies are considered the gold standard of scientific inquiry, Connett is the lead nationwide scientist opposing fluoridation and Bryson is a highly-respected investigative journalist who has worked for ABC, NPR and the BBC, winning multiple awards. All three books, plus numerous other articles, including one in Scientific American, disclose an enormous amount of evidence that water fluoridation, however well-intentioned, is a serious mistake that can threaten human health.

If you don’t read any further (but I really hope you do), please understand this: There is absolutely, positively, NO consensus that fluoridation is safe for human health. On the contrary, there are numerous solid, peer-reviewed scientific studies that indicate just the opposite.

By way of background, I’m the former executive vice president (CEO) of the Oregon American Cancer Society. I worked in several management positions for ACS for 21 years. And until I retired a little over a year ago, I was the founder and director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Campaign for Safe Food, which for over seven years addressed the human health and environmental risks of genetically engineered foods. I co-founded and facilitated the nationwide coalition opposing recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) in dairy products. I’m neither a scientist nor a physician. However, as a health agency executive, I’ve collaborated with these professionals most of my adult life and am familiar with scientific and medical concepts and methods.

I include the above paragraph because the pro-fluoridation forces often lump anyone opposing it as purely emotional anti-science kooks, John Birchers, etc. (This is exactly the same ad hominem technique Monsanto uses to brand those opposing GMO’s.) Of course, there are some people that fit the description.

But since I’ve worked on fluoridation, I’ve been impressed by the serious scholarship and research skills of physicians, scientists, lawyers and lay people who have taken the time and effort to study the issue and had the courage to speak out. What they’ve found has been enlightening – and appalling.

But let’s start with you. Most of you, understandably, haven’t given much thought to fluoridation and think it’s fine. You’re probably influenced by organizations such as the American Dental Association, American Medical Association, etc. that have endorsed the practice. Like most people, you don’t have the time and/or interest to thoroughly investigate every topic. You check out individuals and organizations you respect, see where they stand and vote/believe accordingly. We all do this.

Having worked in non-profit management of health/science/food for nearly three decades, I’ve had numerous colleagues in organizations supporting fluoridation that I’ve liked and respected. I still do.

But for those who still support fluoridation, I respectfully – and emphatically – disagree with every one of them.

Here are just a few points (there are many, many more) for you to consider:

Although many organizations and the government in the U.S. support fluoridation, there are many more entire countries that don’t want anything to do with it. Out of 196 nations in the world, only 27 have fluoridated water and only 11 have more than 50% of their

population drinking it. Most countries in Europe, for instance, have zero fluoridation. A few allow fluoridated salt to be sold, but buying this is a consumer choice, not a necessity like water. Some quotes from officials: Denmark: “We are pleased to inform you that according to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy, toxic fluorides have never been added to the public water supplies.” France: “Fluoride chemicals are not included in the list (of chemicals for drinking water treatment). This is due to ethical

as well as medical considerations.” Sweden: “Drinking water fluoridation is not allowed . . . New scientific documentation or changes in dental health situation that could alter the conclusions of the Commission have not been shown.” Luxembourg:

“Fluoride has never been added to the public water supplies . . . In our views, the drinking water isn’t the suitable way for medicinal treatment . . .”

The chemicals used to fluoridate over 90% of the water in the U.S. are designated by the EPA as hazardous waste. They are by-products of manufacturing phosphate fertilizer and often contain arsenic and sometimes contain lead, both known carcinogens. There are no safe levels of arsenic or lead, no matter how diluted. If these chemicals weren’t sold to water districts, the corporations producing them would have to pay for their disposal. Neither the FDA, EPA nor the corporations producing the fluoridating chemicals assume responsibility or liability for their safety. No one does.

Then there’s the matter of IQ. The 2006 National Academy of Sciences report examined four studies from China comparing children’s IQ’s from high-fluoride and low-fluoride areas. Every one showed that fluoride lowered IQ, typically by 5-10 points. The report acknowledged some studies were stronger than others and they lacked details that would permit full evaluation. But based on the information they had, the NAS concluded “. . . the consistency of the collective results warrants additional research on the effects of fluoride on intelligence . . .”

That NAS recommendation for further research from 2006 was based on only four studies. Last month, a Harvard meta-analysis on IQ studies by Choi et al and partially funded by the National Institutes of Health was published, showing 25 out of 27 studies found the higher the fluoride, the lower the IQ in kids. In the scientists’ words, “children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas . . the consistency of their findings adds support to existing evidence of fluoride-associated cognitive deficits and suggests that potential

development neurotoxicity of fluoride should be a high research priority.”

The Choi study also acknowledged that most of the research studies had some weaknesses. Also, most of the studies’ test groups had higher concentrations of fluoride than what is present in U.S. fluoridated water. But when you consider there have been

over 80 animal studies also indicating fluoride harms the brain, the consistency of the human and animal studies is striking and demands further investigation. With this many red flags, it’s unbelievable that we’re subjecting anyone living in a fluoridated water area to be a human test case for diminished IQ.

Fluoride added to the water is a drug, intended to produce a change in our bodies. Every drug has potential side effects. Even a relatively safe drug like aspirin can cause extreme harm to some people.

When a doctor prescribes a drug, he/she follows standard protocols for maximum safety and effectiveness. The drug has been tested and approved by the FDA and meets Current

Good Manufacturing Practices, meaning it is pure. The doctor prescribes the drug to an individual. It is a specific dose and is to be taken for a defined period of time. The doctor explains the benefits, risks and potential side effects to the patient. The patient then gives informed consent to taking the drug. The doctor monitors the use and results of the drug.

Every single one of the above protocols of prescribing a drug is being violated by water fluoridation. Dr. Peter Mansfield, a physician from the UK and advisory board member of a government review of fluoridation said:

“No physician in his right senses would prescribe for a person he has never met, whose medical history he does not know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change, with the advice: ‘Take as much as you like, but you will take it for the rest of your life because some children suffer from tooth decay.’ It is a preposterous notion.”

Preposterous, indeed. When you think about what’s happening here, it becomes clear that the entire concept of adding ANY DRUG to the water supply defies common sense.

For further information on the above topics and many others, the Fluoride Action Network has an excellent website at http://www.fluoridealert.org/.

The Precautionary Principle (which the city of Portland and Multnomah County officially adopted in 2006) says that the burden of proof is on the producer of a substance to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that it meets acceptable levels of necessity and

safety before introducing it. In other words, better safe than sorry. Fluoridation of water doesn’t even come close. If the Portland City Council approves fluoridation, it is in direct violation of the Precautionary Principle and a direct contradiction to its own rules.

Anyone that tells you there’s conclusive proof or a scientific consensus on the safety of water fluoridation is either sadly mistaken (most people) or in the case of certain individuals, knowingly trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Rick North is the former CEO of the Oregon American Cancer Society (1994-99) and former Project Director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Campaign for Safe Food (2003-2011). He retired in February 2011 to become a volunteer confronting undue corporate influence in elections and the government



Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 28-Aug-2012

Fluoride ballot item is more clear than others

By: Dion Lefler, The Wichita Eagle, Kansas.com, Wichita, Kansas 28-Aug-2012

If Wichita’s last ballot measure was as clear as mud, the next one will be as clear as a glass of drinking water.

The upcoming initiative on whether to fluoridate the city’s drinking water shouldn’t give voters headaches figuring out what they’re voting for, unlike the Feb. 28 special election ballot on tax subsidies for the downtown Ambassador Hotel.

The state Senate has appointed a committee to work on a way to avoid incomprehensible ballot measures in the future. But that could be complicated because half the Senate Republicans on the committee —including the appointed chairwoman — are leaving the Legislature.

Although both the hotel and fluoridation ballot measures resulted from citizen petition drives, the difference is in the way that the two measures came to be on the ballot, said Wichita City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf.

In the hotel vote, petitioners were challenging a City Charter ordinance that the City Council had already passed – and the state Constitution is explicit in how such ballot measures have to be worded, Rebenstorf said.

In contrast, the fluoridation measure was brought to the council by residents who want to put it in the municipal code, which means the ballot wording is not dictated by the Constitution.

“The attorney that drafted the ordinance, he just drafted it real simple,” Rebenstorf said. “He did a good job.”

Ballot wording

The fluoridation measure, set to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot reads:

Shall Section 17.12.340 of the code of the city of Wichita be adopted which provides:

(1) The City of Wichita’s Director of Public Works & Utilities is authorized and directed to fluoridate the City of Wichita’s public drinking water supply to the optimal levels beneficial to reduce tooth decay and promote good oral health as recommended by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and is thereafter responsible for the fluoridation of that public drinking water supply.

(2) Upon the direction of the Director of Public Works & Utilities, the Wichita Water Department is authorized and directed to install, operate, and maintain the equipment necessary to introduce fluoride compound sufficient to raise the fluoride concentration in the public drinking water supply to the optimal levels as set forth in the previous paragraph.

A “yes” vote is clearly in favor of putting fluoride in the water, a “no” vote is clearly against it.

Although Wichita supplies water to surrounding communities, only registered voters in Wichita will be allowed to vote on the issue.

The wording on the fluoride question is a far cry from the Ambassador Hotel subsidy question, where voters were asked to decide:

“Shall Charter Ordinance 216 entitled: “A charter ordinance amending and repealing Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 213, of the city of Wichita, Kansas, which amended and repealed Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 183 of the city of Wichita which amended and repealed Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 174 of the city of Wichita, Kansas, pertaining to the application of revenues from the transient guest tax” take effect?”

That dense legalese prompted some lawmakers to try to look for a way to avoid ballot questions that can only be interpreted with a lawyer and/or a well-stocked library of past and present city codes.

Neutral ‘explainers’

Rather than try to change the Constitution — a complicated process requiring a vote of the electorate — legislators have focused on giving voters additional information, which they believe they can do by a simple statute.

In the waning days of this year’s legislative session, the House approved a measure to allow local election officials to provide voters with neutral “explainers” telling them what they’re voting on.

Under the House plan, local election officials could ask the county or district attorney to draft an explainer. It would then be reviewed by the secretary of state, or in some cases the attorney general, to ensure neutrality.

The explainer would be included with absentee ballots and posted at polling places.

But the plan was amended to another bill that didn’t make it through the Senate.

Leaders of both houses agreed to appoint an interim committee to give the idea further study before the next legislative session begins in January.

Interim committees don’t take direct action, but ordinarily submit recommendations when the Legislature reconvenes.

But two of the four senators on the Special Election Committee won’t be senators after the start of the next session, leaving it unclear who, if anyone, will champion the committee’s recommendations in the Senate.

The chairwoman, Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway, decided not to seek re-election and committee member Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, lost his seat in the primary.

The two remaining Republican senators on the panel, Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, and Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, survived conservative attempts to unseat them, but are associated with the moderate Republican Senate faction that was decisively stripped of political power in the primary election.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, who makes the appointments to interim committees, also lost his seat in the primary.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley appointed Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, as the lone Democratic senator on the panel.

Hensley said he thinks the committee can still get some significant work done. Huntington and Brungardt retain their seats until the session starts in January and can still participate on the committee.

And while the House has yet to appoint its members, Hensley said he thinks that most of the representatives will be coming back.

“Out of the 13 to 15 members on it, I’d say most will be legislators” after January, he said.

Hensley said he supports the idea of providing clearer ballot language.

“I think it’s important for voters to understand what they’re going to vote on when they go to the polls,” he said.

McGinn said she hasn’t been informed of any pending meetings of the interim committee or exactly what they’re going to discuss.

She also said she’s on somewhat unfamiliar ground because she doesn’t serve on the regular Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, which usually handles such matters.

McGinn said when the committee does meet, she wants more information on how ballot explainers would be written to ensure that they don’t favor one side or the other.

She added that there’s a lot of uncertainty with all the changes that will be coming to the Senate and much depends on who’s selected to lead the chamber.

“Everything’s going to be new and different, so we’re all waiting to see,” she said. “You would hope that whoever ends up being the chair would want to continue discussing the issues (from this year’s session) that got snagged up.”



Anti fluoride protesters bring campaign to Lisburn

By: Ulsterstar, Lisburntoday.co.uk, Lisburn, N. Ireland 27-Aug-2012

MEMBERS of the ‘No fluoride in NI water’ group were in the city this week sharing their concerns with locals about proposals to add fluoride to water in Northern Ireland.

The group was formed earlier this year when it was revealed Health Minister Edwin Poots is considering adding fluoride to the water in a bid to curb the rate of tooth decay in young people.

At the time The DUP MLA said the public should be ashamed of their dental hygiene.

“We’ve failed miserably,” he said, before adding that children were being allowed far too much sugary food and drink from a very early age – in some cases before the age of one year.

However Patricia Gillespie who is against the fluoride proposals says that fluoride is highly toxic and people need to be aware. “This means the highly toxic substance hydrofluorosilicic acid will be added to your drinking water,” she said.

She continued: “Hydrofluorosilicic is a waste product of the phosphate fertiliser and aluminium industries and due to the process used to obtain it, it will always contain other toxic elements. Because it is put into the water supply and is also in the food chain, there is no way of measuring how much each individual consumes and anyone at any time could be ingesting extremely dangerous levels.”

She added: “On every level possible, this proposed scheme is utter madness. It is financially irresponsible and ethically repugnant.”

Patricia said that farmers have also shown their opposition to fluoridation. She said: “Considering 98% of Europe has banned this outdated practice, no EU country would want to buy our dairy and meat products if they have been consuming fluoridated water. Also in 1996, 25 out of 26 local councils here voted against the then proposal to fluoridate Northern Ireland and Mr Paisley was totally against it.”

For more information on the campaign please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/NIflouridefree/



La Ville de Richmond organisera une soirée d’information sur la fluoration de l’eau 12-septembre-2012 / The City of Richmond will host an information evening on water fluoridation 12-Sep-2012

Par: Communiqué, l’étincelle.qc.ca, Richmond, Québec 28-Août-2012 ─ Afin de bien éclairer la population sur les effets de la fluoration de l’eau potable, la Ville de Richmond organisera une soirée d’information publique le mercredi 12 septembre, à 19 h, au centre communautaire de Richmond, situé au 820, rue Gouin.

Les représentants du Regroupement de citoyens et citoyennes pour une eau saine à Richmond de même que ceux de la Santé publique seront réunis pour présenter à tour de rôle leurs arguments sur le dossier de la fluoration.  Les deux partis auront trente minutes pour exposer leur argumentaire. Chaque présentation sera suivie d’une période de questions réservée à la population et aux membres du conseil municipal.

« Nous sommes ouverts à écouter les membres du regroupement qui s’opposent à la fluoration, mais nous sommes aussi ouverts à réentendre les experts de la Santé publique qui sont en sa faveur. Nous invitons la population à venir assister à cette soirée d’information qui lui donnera la chance d’écouter les arguments des deux groupes. C’est la meilleure façon pour elle d’arriver à se faire une opinion éclairée sur le sujet », mentionne Marc-André Martel, le maire de Richmond.

Rappelons que depuis 2009, la Ville de Richmond procède à la fluoration de son eau potable.  Pour ce faire, des travaux de réfection de son usine avaient été effectués au coût de 254 304 $. Ces travaux avaient été entièrement financés par le ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.


The Spark, Richmond, Quebec 28-Aug-2012 ─ In order to enlighten the public about the effects of fluoridation of drinking water, the City of Richmond will hold a public information session Wednesday, September 12 at 19 am , Richmond Community Centre, located at 820, rue Gouin.

Representatives of the Coalition of Citizens for Clean Water in Richmond as well as those of Public Health will gather to present their arguments on the issue of fluoridation. Both parties will have thirty minutes to present their arguments. Each presentation will be followed by a question period reserved for the public and council members.

“We are open to listen to the members of the group who oppose fluoridation, but we are also open to rehear the Public Health experts in favour. We invite the public to attend this information evening which will give him the chance to listen to the arguments of both groups. This is the best way for it to happen to make an informed opinion on the subject, “said Marc-André Martel, the mayor of Richmond.

Note that since 2009, the City of Richmond fluoridates its drinking water. To do this, repairs to its plant had been completed at a cost of $254,304. This work was fully funded by the Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec.



Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 27-Aug-2012

Mayor downplays fluoride survey snub

By: ABC News, ABC.net.au, Tablelands, Australia 23-Aug-2012

The Tablelands Mayor says the fact most Mareeba residents ignored a survey about water fluoridation does not mean most people do not care about the issue.

Six hundred-and-one residents filled out the survey, which was sent to almost 6,000 households in Mareeba.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said they do not want fluoride added to the water supply.

Mayor Rosa Lee Long says that is reflective of the population.

“When you have a survey it does mean that not everybody has to reply,” she said.

“But I think that’s a good indication of how, to my way of thinking anyway, it’s a good indication of how people are thinking down there.

“When people write letters to the editor, they say that for every letter that’s written there’s probably 10 other people thinking the same way, so I wonder if we can equate that to people actually returning their surveys.

“It would still indicate that the vast majority don’t want it.”



People make cases for, against fluoridated water

By: Fred Mann, The Wichita Eagle, Kansas.com, Wichita, Kansas 25-Aug-2012

Kim Weigand can’t forget the time she let her dentist give her a routine fluoride treatment during a visit to his office.

“Within a short period after I got home, I was in excruciating pain,” she said. “I felt like my mouth was absolutely on fire.”

On the other hand, Kathy Trilli can’t forget that she and her older siblings had lots of tooth decay growing up in non-fluoridated Sheridan, Wyo., but her two younger brothers had no problems after the city added fluoride to the public water supply when she was in college.

They had the same parents, ate the same foods and snacks, she said. It had to be the fluoride.

“The only difference in growing up was before and after fluoride,” Trilli said.

The debate over whether to add fluoride to Wichita’s water supply is likely to grow after the City Council voted last week to place the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot. People on both sides of the issue frequently cite scientific research to back their claims that fluoride can help prevent tooth decay or that it can harm health.

In many cases, strong feelings about fluoride are born from personal experiences living with, or without, it.

Weigand, a holistic life coach at the Quantum Path in Wichita, knew she was sensitive to chemicals, but she said she didn’t anticipate the agony she endured after her fluoride treatment. She strongly opposes efforts to fluoridate the city’s water.

“I am a perfect example of the canary in the coal mine,” she said.

Weigand said she has refused fluoride treatments since her first one, and she avoids toothpastes that contain fluoride. She said she has so rarely had a cavity that she can’t recall her last one.

But Trilli, a dental hygienist, said she was a school screener in Garden City and saw a high rate of decay in western Kansas school kids until fluoride was added to the water in Garden City five years ago. Since then, the rate of tooth decay among third-graders in western Kansas has dropped from 50 percent to 38 percent, she said.

“The cavity rates are going down, down, down in Garden City,” Trilli said. Personal anecdotes

People who have lived in areas where fluoride has been added to public water supplies have had different experiences.

Jon Shields, a methods engineer in Bombardier flight test, said he lived in fluoridated Minneapolis, Minn., most of his life.

“My teeth were a disaster,” he said.

Shields said he brushed carefully, visited the dentist consistently and ate nutritious foods.

Still, he said, “As a child I had an extreme amount of cavities, to the point my parents were constantly paying for dental visits. Later on, I got into fluoridated toothpaste and I was finding I was getting canker sores.”

When he moved to Wichita in 2004, he thought he’d found paradise, Shields said.

To him, the debate over adding fluoride to the city’s public water supply has an unfortunate side effect.

“The sad part about it is, this takes all the attention off what kids really need these days, which is nutrition,” he said.

David Dorf, chief financial officer for Heartspring, which helps children with special needs, said he grew up in McPherson when it didn’t add fluoride to its water, and he constantly had to go to the dentist to have cavities filled. Even as his new teeth came in, they got cavities, he said.

When Dorf left the Navy in 1979, he and his family lived in fluoridated Salina for 12 years. His teeth improved, and his two daughters had no cavity problems at all, he said.

He credits the fluoride.

“I just compare the fact that they grew up in an area where fluoride was available to them in the drinking water,” Dorf said. “The fact is, they had great teeth and still do to this day. And my experience was totally the opposite.” Views from outside Wichita

Outsiders on both sides of the issue are concerned about the debate in Wichita.

Carol Kopf , of Levittown, N.Y., spearheaded a campaign that stopped 29 years of fluoridation in her hometown in 1983, and she is hoping Wichita doesn’t let it get started.

Kopf said she believed dentists at first that fluoride was safe for her children. She began researching the issue for a paper in a journalism class. The paper didn’t come out for or against it, but when challenged by her professor, she did more research.

Dentists provided her with inadequate information and told her just to believe them and not the “lunatic fringe” who opposed it, Kopf said. But when she asked them to critique the science that fluoride opponents presented, “they either said it didn’t exist, or they waved me away with the back of their hand,” she said. Kopf said that fluoridation opponents, meanwhile, were generous with their time and information and answered all her questions.

Kopf said she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in science and environmental reporting at New York University. Today she volunteers with the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, and the Fluoride Action Network.

She said big money behind the push to fluoridate Wichita’s water will drown out those opposed.

“This Wichita fluoridation battle has nothing to do with truth,” Kopf said. “But it’s all about power and money.”

But Bill Maas, a public health dentist in Bethesda, Md., and former director of the Division of Oral Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supports the effort to add fluoride to Wichita’s water.

He recalls doing exams of low-income children when he was a dental student at the University of Michigan. He was surprised to find that one group of children had much more tooth decay than another, even though both groups came from poor backgrounds. He later learned the group with less decay lived in an area with fluoridated water.

Maas is a consultant for the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign, a partner of the Kansas Health Foundation, which is supporting the fluoridation drive in Wichita.

He said families of scientists and doctors at the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention live in cities with fluoridated water.

They don’t have any concerns about the health fears raised by fluoride opponents, he said.

“If there really was something to their claims, these people would speak up,” Maas said. “But they don’t.”



Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 25-Aug-2012

Utica man wants fluoride removed from city’s drinking water

By: Gary Liberatore, News Channel 2, WKTV.com, Utica, N.Y. 24-Aug-2012

28 year old Ross Quinn is a lifelong resident of Utica.

He wasn’t born yet when Utica residents voted in favor of adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water back in the 1960’s but now wants to try and get it removed.

Quinn says he has seen numerous studies on the internet, along with a number of organizations that all say a particular type of fluoride that is added to the drinking water in municipalities across the country has been known to cause health problems.

That type of fluoride is known as hydrofluorocilic acid.

Quinn says there are a number of reasons he has decided to speak out.

“Because no one else is,” he said. “Because what happens is, being quiet is basically giving consent. Your silence is their consent. Also, I’ve got a young child, I’ve got a family, I drink a lot of water myself. I do body building and I need to take in two three gallons of water a day.”

Quinn says he has researched hydrofluorocilic acid.

“It is a bio-accumulative chemical, which means it collects in your body over time, which can lead to fluorosis of the bones, making them brittle, increases in fractures, also problems with the thyroid,” Quinn said.

Oneida County Health Department officials say there is no danger to area residents, because of the very low levels of the hydrofluorocilic acid added to the drinking water by the Mohawk Valley Water Authority.

The Health Department’s Environmental Director Dan Gilmore says fluoridation is a treatment advocated by the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Health Department.

Meanwhile, Mohawk Valley Water Authority Water Quality Director Connie Schreppel says fluoridation has been used for many years and she says used safely.

“There’s different types of fluoride that you can feed, but they’re all what they call NSF Certified, which is National Science Foundation, and you cannot feed anything into water unless it’s recognized by the National Science Foundation,” Schreppel.

Schreppel says she understands there is a lot of good information for people to read on the internet, but she adds, “I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Most of the information, if you go and look through the Health Department websites or portals, you will see that it is safe and it is beneficial.”

Quinn says he doesn’t believe the agencies are telling the truth, that there really is a danger and he is urging other area residents to contact him to help form a group that he hopes will circulate petitions to eventually get the fluoride issue back up for another vote, this time to remove it from the water.

Gilmore says he is actually glad to hear that residents like Ross Quinn are interested in what government agencies do.

“That’s a valuable service to have watchdog organizations,” Gilmore said. “I wouldn’t discourage people from questioning things like that, but as far as an issue locally, with fluoridation in the water, the water that we have delivered to us is safe.”

Quinn is asking any local residents who are interested in the fluoride issue to contact him by email at uticacaf@yahoo.com

He says “uticacaf” stands for Utica Citizens Against Fluoride.

Here are some links to government agencies with information about fluoride :

Other links with information on water and fluoride:

*EPA – Water

*CDC – Water

*NYS Department of Health

*ADA – Fluoride


Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 24-Aug-2012

Fluoride appeal heads to the Supreme Court

By: Joanne Shoebridge, ABC North Coast, ABC.net.au, NSW, Australia 23-Aug-2012

Rous Water’s legal team has been briefed once again to defend the authority’s decision to fluoridate the water supply to Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley residents.

Anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court after Rous Water won the case in the Land and Environment Court earlier this year.   Mr Oshlack challenged the process by which the council came to its decision, having earlier dropped a challenge based on the health merits of the case.

Mr Oshlack says the decision of Justice Pepper in support of the councillors decision was flawed.

“The Land and Environment Court got it wrong.

“The decision made by Rous Water was flawed because when they made their decision councillors were told that they had no discretion to vote against it.

“This is clearly wrong it’s an affront to democracy” says Mr Oshlack.

The issue arose when the NSW Health first approached local authorities about whether they wanted fluoride added to their water supplies.

The Byron Shire said ‘no’.   The Ballina and Lismore City councils sought and received approval from NSW Health for fluoride to be added to the water supply and the Richmond Valley Council deferred the decision to NSW Health for a direction.

NSW Health directed that Richmond Valley residents should have fluoridated water.

Since the Byron Shire had rejected fluoride, Rous Water, which supplies water to all the shires, was then required to build four separate dosing plants to fluoridate water to the other centres.   The new dosing plants are estimated to cost more than two million dollars to construct.

However it is the direction from NSW Health that Richmond Valley’s water supply should be fluoridated that led to Rous Water councillors fearing they might be personally liable if they did not support fluoridation.

They received legal advice to that effect and the Land and Environment Court upheld the validity of that advice and the decision that councillors took as a result.



Opponents to launch signature-gathering initiative to block fluoridated water in Portland

By: Brad Schmidt, Oregonlive.com, Portland, Oregon 22-Aug-2012

Opponents of the Portland City Council’s fluoridation plan will launch a competing effort Wednesday asking voters in 2014 to ban fluoride from local drinking water.

The initiative comes less than a week after a majority of the City Council announced support for adding fluoride to a water supply serving about 900,000 residents in Portland, Gresham, Tigard and Tualatin.

If successful, the proposal would trump the city’s pending decision. But first opponents will need to collect 29,786 valid signatures from Portland voters — a task often tried and often failed — just to put the ban on the ballot.

“Based on the public outcry on this issue, I have no doubt that we will be able to collect enough signatures,” said Kimberly Kaminski, executive director for Oregon Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which has scheduled a noon press conference in front of Portland City Hall to announce their Clean Water Portland effort.

In the nearly two weeks since The Oregonian first reported that fluoride proponents had been quietly lobbying the City Council, elected officials have received more than 2,000 phone calls and emails. The Portland Water Bureau has estimated capital expenses for fluoridation at about $5 million, but a facility couldn’t be up and running for three to five years.

The hot-button issue is unique to Portland, which is the largest city in America that either lacks fluoridated water or hasn’t taken steps to add it. Three times, city residents have voted against fluoridation, most recently in 1980.

But Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish have each said they support fluoride to help reduce tooth decay, assuring its passage. Opponents are concerned about potential health risks from fluoride and the closed-door lobbying that prompted political support.

A hearing is set at 2 p.m. Sept. 6 with the formal vote Sept. 12.

Aware of today’s press conference, but not privy to the opposition’s strategy, fluoride promoters on Tuesday remained confident voters would favor fluoridation — if it comes to that.

“That’s part of the process and they have every right” to challenge it, said Raquel Luz Bournhonesque, who is heading the advocacy campaign.

Rather than directly fight the City Council decision, opponents are prepared to push forward their own proposal banning fluoride.

Why go that route? Because it gives them far more time to collect signatures.

Challenging the City Council decision through a referendum would require 19,868 valid signatures — about 10,000 fewer than through an initiative. But opponents would have just 30 days to collect them.

“It would be difficult to gather enough signatures for a referendum,” Kaminski said. “There’s just not enough time.”

But through an initiative, opponents could target either the May 2014 primary election or the November 2014 general election, giving them up to almost two years. Signatures would be due four months before either election.

According to language in Kaminski’s proposal, which has not been submitted to the city, the initiative would prohibit Portland from adding “any chemical or other substance … that is a by-product of any industrial or manufacturing process,” other than those that make water drinkable. Those byproducts, Kaminski said, include fluoride.

Kaminski acknowledged that her group is at a funding disadvantage compared to proponents, who have recruited a prominent political consultant and are airing television ads. But she pledged that “an army of volunteers” will collect enough signatures to force a vote.

Even so, the initiative process has proved difficult.

Since 2008, at least eight initiatives have failed to make the ballot in Portland. Only one group bothered to turn in paperwork with signatures — which fell short — while others fizzled immediately.

In the past 12 years, just one initiative collected enough signatures allowing voters to weigh in. Developer Bob Ball led that effort, which would have created district representation on the Portland City Council. Voters overwhelmingly shot it down.

Ball on Tuesday said that campaign spent about $80,000 paying a company to knock on doors, collecting signatures from known voters.

“It’s very difficult if you don’t recognize that you need to get paid and volunteer” signature-gatherers, Ball said of initiative efforts generally.

“I don’t think it’s impossible,” he added. “It has to be an issue that really gets people’s attention, and that they really feel strongly about.”



Dr. Hardy Limeback BSc PhD (Biochemistry) DDS — Concerned that fluoridation can harm human bone

Why this dental researcher became concerned that fluoridation can harm human bone.

As a professor, I was fortunate enough to receive years of government funding to analyse the proteins that were responsible for the formation of teeth. I became intrigued by how fluoride interfered with normal tooth development and caused dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis can range from very mild, almost undetectable white streaking or flecking of the enamel, to a more moderate chalky white discolouration (often with orange permanent staining) to a more severe kind where the enamel seems to be very fragile and ‘flakes off’ the surface leaving behind stained, mottled enamel (a topic of a future blog).

It made sense to me that if too much fluoride ingestion can interfere with the mineralization of teeth, then it could interfere with the process that makes the mineral in bone; both tissues are mineralized with the same fluoride-containing mineral called fluorapatite.

It had been well documented in animals that too much fluorapatite in bone changes the bone’s physical properties making it more brittle and more susceptible to fracture. There had been some human epidemiological studies linking increased fluoride intake from drinking water to increased hip fractures but there were also studies that showed no effect. Clinical drug trials using massive daily doses of fluoride (25 to 50 mg per day) to treat osteoporosis were a disappointment. The side effects were horrendous. Also, researchers found that although large doses of fluoride made bone thicker the bone became more brittle and fractured more easily. The use of fluoride as a bone ‘strengthening’ agent was abandoned.

But fluoridation wasn’t supposed to affect anything except teeth!

Most fluoride ingestion comes from drinking fluoridated water. Fluoride accumulates in bone and the older you get the more ends up in your bones. The concern that fluoridation was weakening bones and increasing the risk for hip fractures in the elderly was heightened by the publication of studies such as this one from Utah.

“We found a small but significant increase in the risk of hip fracture in both men and women exposed to artificial fluoridation at 1 ppm (1 mg/L), suggesting that low levels of fluoride may increase the risk of hip fracture in the elderly.” (Danielson, C., Lyon, J.L., Egger, M., and Goodenough, G.K.  1992.  Hip fractures and fluoridation in Utah’s elderly population. Journal of the American Medical  Association. 1992, 268:746-748.)

Hip fractures are devastating for the elderly. Up to 36% of the elderly with hip fractures are dead within a year. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19421703

If just one hip fracture is attributed to fluoridation, that’s one too many, in my mind. Almost 20 years ago I proposed that Canada consider reducing or eliminating fluoride from drinking water to reduce the risk of bone damage in Canadians (Limeback, H. Fluoride accumulation in human teeth and bones: Is dose adjustment now required? Canadian Journal of Public Health 1993, 84:78-81).

There was really no data in North America that looked at the quality of human bone exposed to low levels of fluoride (fluoridation). So, I decided to secure the help of a well-known bone researcher, Dr. Marc Grynpas of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, to apply for federal funding to study the effect of fluoride on human bone quality.

Our “Toronto-Montreal Bone Study”

The study, conducted primarily by a PhD student by the name of Debbie Chachra, was simple: she collected donated femoral heads (the tops of the leg bones) from patients at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto (a fluoridated city since 1964) undergoing total hip replacement, and examined the changes in anatomy and biomechanical properties, comparing the Toronto bones to donated bones from patients at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital (Montreal has never been fluoridated).

Here are some of the observations from that study (her thesis was published in 2001 but the peer-reviewed paper from that study did not appear until 2010) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858781

  • Toronto bone samples contained significantly more fluoride than the Montreal bones (1033 ± 438 ppm vs 643 ± 220 ppm)
  • fluoride accumulates with age (confirming other published studies)
  • “the strength of the bone (was) lower for the more fluoridated group” [the ultimate compressive strength and yield to compressive stress declined with increasing fluoride (p < 0.05)]
  • variability of results made it difficult to be certain of the fluoride effect (Debbie managed to secure a total of 92 femoral heads in total; it would have been nice to have collected a lot more specimens)

I suspect if this study were to be repeated with a greater number of patients, with a more homogenous group and limited to only the elderly who have been ingesting fluoridated drinking water for 60 or more years, the results would have been striking.

The York Review: Limitations of Ecological Studies

A group of epidemiologists in the UK, after systematically reviewing the quality of the various epidemiological studies, reported in the ‘York Review’ that fluoridation was not associated with an increased risk of bone fracture. http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/CRD_Reports/crdreport18.pdf

Quite often, the York Review is quoted as the final word that fluoridation does not result in increased bone fractures. Can one really say that? The York reviewers used the meta-analysis technique, which is a systematic and statistical analysis of several studies combined. For an explanation see http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/painres/download/whatis/meta-an.pdf

However, ecological studies have a huge potential for bias and errors (called ecological fallacy) http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11571&page=439

Using the GIGO principle (“garbage in, garbage out”) I’m not convinced the York reviewers proved much at all regarding the safety of fluoridation and bone quality. Inferences can be made about individuals from the ecological studies at the population level but so many variables still have to be accounted for that we really should be funding properly conducted clinical trials using outcome measures such as serum, urine and bone fluoride levels, bone biomechanics and bone histology.

What about people who retain more fluoride?

Susceptible subgroups of the population retain more fluoride because…

  1. they either drink a lot more water (diabetes, construction workers in hot climates, athletes),
  2. consume more fluoride on a dose/kg basis because they are smaller (infants and toddlers) or
  3. because they are unable to excrete fluoride properly (the elderly, people with renal failure).

With respect to renal patients, Dr. Grynpas’ group found in a study of 153 iliac crest bone biopsies taken from patient with renal osteodystorphy (ROD), a pathological change in bone, the following:

“These results suggested that in ROD, bone fluoride may diminish bone microhardness by interfering with mineralization.” (Ng AH, Hercz G, Kandel R, Grynpas MD. Association between fluoride, magnesium, aluminum and bone quality in renal osteodystrophy. Bone 2004, 34(1):216-24.)

I served on the US National Academies of Sciences Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water (National Research Council). Our findings, Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards, were published in March of 2006 and can be found here: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11571

We recommended that more research is needed on bone concentrations of fluoride in people with altered renal function, as well as other potentially sensitive populations (e.g., the elderly, postmenopausal women, people with altered acid-balance) to better understand the risks of musculoskeletal effects in these populations.

Fluoridation wasn’t supposed to affect the bones of our kids.

Our NRC committee concluded…

“Dose-response (biological gradient): For the most part, the observational studies discussed above observed higher fracture risk with higher exposure compared with 1 mg/L. The combined findings of Kurttio et al. (1999), Alarcón-Herrera et al. (2001), and Li et al. (2001) lend support to gradients of exposure and fracture risk between 1 and 4 mg/L.”

Dr. Steven Levy, a public health dentist, and his coworkers, started to look at bone health in a cohort of families they have been following in Iowa for many years.

In their 2009 publication looking at whether small daily fluoride exposures can affect kids’ bones they admit, “comparing results for girls and boys, we found consistently small positive associations of fluoride with bone outcomes for boys, but more commonly slight negative associations for girls.” (Levy SM, Eichenberger-Gilmore J, Warren JJ, Letuchy E, Broffitt B, Marshall TA, Burns T, Willing M, Janz K and Torner JC. Associations of fluoride intake with children’s bone measures at age 11. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 2009, 37: 416–426.)

Public Health’s continuing denial that our bones are at risk.

On Feb.17, 2011, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa), in a press release, had this to say.

TORONTO — “The use of fluoride in drinking water is a safe, effective, and economical way to help prevent dental cavities with no scientifically proven adverse health impacts, according to Ontario public health agencies who voted overwhelmingly in support of the fluoridation of community drinking water at an Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) conference in Toronto last week.”

The use of fluoride in drinking water is safe? …with no scientifically proven adverse health impacts?… really?

Valid studies that show changes to the skeleton as a result of fluoridation have been published. More continue to accumulate in the literature. Public health must be unaware they exist or they interpret them completely differently. I suspect they give them no credence at all because these studies seem to contradict the “safe and effective” message.

Challenge to the reader: Ask your local public health representatives to provide the studies THEY have to prove that ‘the use of fluoride in drinking water is a safe, effective and economical way to prevent dental cavities’. Ask them why they are not monitoring fluoride levels even though municipalities insist on medicating their residents with the drug fluoride (to treat dental decay). Ask your doctor to have your fluoride levels checked.

Take home message for the reader: There ARE studies that show that fluoridation can have adverse health effects on bone.



Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 23-Aug-2012

Does fluoride in drinking water hurt your brain?

By: Dr. Keith Ablow, FoxNews.com 22-Aug-2012

Back in 2011, the EPA reversed course and lowered the recommended maximum amount of fluoride in drinking water due to data that the levels then being allowed put kids at risk of dental fluorosis–streaking and pitting of teeth due to excessive fluoride, which also puts tooth enamel at risk.

This conclusion was a discordant note amidst all the accolades fluoride had won, starting with the discovery during the 1940s that people who lived near water supplies containing naturally occurring fluoride had fewer cavities in their teeth.   A massive push ensued, with government and industry encouraging cities and towns to add fluoride to water supplies.

Related: Dental health linked to dementia risk

Now, questions about the impact of fluoride on mental health are growing and can no longer be ignored.

A recently published Harvard study showed that children living in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those living in areas where the water has low fluoride levels.  In fact, the study analyzed the results of 27 prior investigations and found the following, among other conclusions:

* Fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development (in children) at exposures much below those that cause toxicity in adults.

* Rats exposed to (relatively low) fluoride concentrations in water showed cellular changes in the brain and increased levels of aluminum in brain tissue.

Other research studies in animals link fluoride intake to the development of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic finding in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s dementia).

And research on fluoride also has implicated it in changing the structure of the brains of fetuses, negatively impacting the behavioral/neurological assessment scores of newborns and, in animal studies, impairing memory.

This information is very important, from a psychiatric standpoint, because we have witnessed rising rates of attention deficit disorder, major depression, dementia and many other psychiatric illnesses since the 1940s, and because the United States (which fluoridates a much higher percentage of its drinking water than most countries, including European nations) has some of the highest rates of mental disorders in the world–by a wide margin.

It is not clear, of course, that fluoride is responsible wholly, or even in small measure, for these facts, but the connection is an intriguing one, especially in light of the new Harvard study.

Given the available data, I would recommend that children with learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, depression, attention-deficit disorder or other psychiatric illnesses refrain from drinking fluoridated water, and consult a dentist about the most effective way of delivering sufficient fluoride to the teeth directly, while minimizing absorption by the body as a whole–and the brain, specifically.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com



Anti-fluoride group in Wichita issues a debate challenge

By: Annie Calovich, The Wichita Eagle, Kansas.com, Wichita, Kansas 23-Aug-2012

An anti-fluoride group on Wednesday challenged the pro-fluoride group Wichitans for Healthy Teeth to a televised debate to be held by Oct. 17, ahead of a November vote on whether Wichita should fluoridate its water.

The group Pure Water for Wichita wants “an open and frank discussion” about fluoride, said Ann Garvey, acting as spokesman for the group. She issued the challenge during a meeting of another anti-fluoride group, Fluoride Free Kansas.

“I don’t have an interest in drinking the stuff,” said Garvey’s brother Jim, who helped start Pure Water for Wichita in June. He said his group is coordinating with Fluoride Free Kansas to educate the public ahead of the vote on fluoride in the Nov. 6 general election. The Wichita City Council on Tuesday voted to put the question on the ballot.

A spokesman for Wichitans for Healthy Teeth said Wednesday night that the group had not yet received any communication from Pure Water for Wichita.

Ann Garvey said at the meeting that Pure Water for Wichita was asking for a response from Wichitans for Healthy Teeth about the debate by Aug. 31.

“Our job is to share information and facts about fluoride and let the voters decide,” Jim Garvey said.

Ann Garvey said one of the reasons she is opposed to fluoridated water is that the fluoride added to water is not the fluoride that naturally occurs in water or that dentists use or that is found in toothpaste but is often the byproduct of phosphate fertilizer.

Indeed, “What are you going to put in the water?” is a question he has not been able to get an answer to as he debates people about fluoridation, Don Landis of Fluoride Free Kansas said at the meeting. About 60 people turned out at the Office Park Plaza at 4601 E. Douglas to help plan a strategy to defeat the ballot initiative.

“I’ve lost friends over it,” Kathy Deane told the group about her opposition to fluoride. And she added, “We can’t look crazy.”

Several people at the meeting acknowledged that fluoride opponents are sometimes seen as conspiracy theorists or crazy. Melinda Foley, owner of Food for Thought, said that she was talking to a friend about fluoridated water Wednesday and the friend asked incredulously, “You’re against fluoride?” She said yes she was, and she’d be calling the friend later in the evening to tell her why.

Landis said that if the debate with Wichitans for Healthy Teeth takes place, an expert with “sterling” credentials will be there on the opposition side. And he asked those at the meeting to contact their doctors and dentists to see where they stand on the issue.

The group plans to meet again in two weeks.