Mayor and Council,
I am here to help educate council and the public, on the issue of the Fluoride fortification of our drinking water. Not because I am an expert in Fluoride (I am not), but because of widespread misinformation, on both sides of this issue.
As Mayor Bill Whitfield would say, “I don’t have a dog in this hunt”, I am just presenting a balanced, non-emotional, analysis of the facts.
Examination of All the Facts:
1. Ten leading public health organizations, who stake their reputations and status on providing accurate information to the public, have ALL, characterized Fluoride in drinking water as Cheap, Safe and Effective. These organizations include the CDC, AMA, ADA, American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Surgeon General, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American Public Health Association, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Association of Dental Research. Do you really believe that all of these organization would endorse the use of Fluoride, if there was a potential harm in it’s use?
2. The fact that Fluoride has a MSDS means nothing. All food products have an MSDS. MSDS purpose is to educate users about safe use and handling of the chemical.
3. The FDA has approved the use of Fluoride, and even allows a Health Claim for Fluoride containing products.
4. Many chemicals are used safely in food products. Because a product has a “chemical” sounding name does not make it harmful. The dangerous sounding chemical DHMO (Dihydrogen monoxide) or Hydrohydroxic acid is water and, yes, even water has aMSDS.
5. Most ingredients in food can be dangerous in their pure forms. Mustard was used as a weapon in the WWI. I learned early in my career, I needed to wash my hands BEFORE, I went to the bathroom, after handling cayenne pepper extract. I made that mistake only once. We need to focus on the proper dosage of Fluoride.
6. Europe can hardly be a standard for good teeth quality. And report from the European Environment Agency concludes “Pesticide and metal contamination of drinking water supplies has been identified as a problem in many European countries”. They probably wish that they had our drinking water “problem”.
7. Just because something is good for you, it does not mean that a lot of it is better. It is possible to have too much a good thing. The Health and Human Services has a “recommended optimal level of 0.7 milligrams per liter is set to promote public health benefits of fluoride for preventing tooth decay while minimizing the chance for dental fluorosis” and the CDC notes an “optimal level (0.7-1.2 mg/L, or 0.7-1.2 parts per million [ppm]) for preventing tooth decay”. Note that 1 mg/L is equivalent to 1 ppm.
8. Levels at or exceeding 4.0 mg/L or ppm, Fluoride is considered a contaminant.
9. “The district’s latest water quality analysis shows there’s naturally 0.391 milligrams of fluoride per liter (mg/L) of raw water.” It appears, from a cursory examination, that the naturally occurring Fluoride in our water ranges from .2 to .5 ppm.
10.This program costs $762,000 per year, most of which ends up in locations, other than peoples teeth.
My Opinions & Conclusions
- The amount of naturally occurring Fluoride, appears to be sufficient to maintain the dental health of the residents of Collin County and the fortification of Fluoride is a waste of money.
- NTMWD should continue to monitor the level of Fluoride and maintain a level between .2 and .5 ppm and fortify, if necessary.
- NTMWD should turn over the saving of approximately $762,000 annual to the Collin County Commissioners Court and disperse a portion for promoting the dental health of Collin County citizens.
- Some of the money saved should be used for the education, supplying basic dental care supplies and coordinating the activity of dozens of dentists, who regularly offer their services, free of charge.
- This initiative could add a dental care programs to some the the community service organizations in Collin County such as the Samaritan Inn, Senior Center and Community Lifeline, where dental supplies could be offered at reduced (not free) rates.
Many thanks to Councilman Ricchi and Pam Wenzel for bringing this issue to the discussion table.