Fluoride debate isn't about science, it's about choice

Ashland citizens who prefer to make their own decisions about what medicines and contaminants they consume are advised to speak out against a bill that the State Legislature is poised to approve next Monday. HB3099 mandates that cities with populations over 10,000 fluoridate their water with a by-product of fertilizer production that EPA regulates as a contaminant.

The only way a city can avoid the proposed mandate is if its voters exempt it in a 2008 general or primary election, using ballot language written into HB3099. The bill prohibits rate/taxpayer fees, taxes, or charges to buy the necessary equipment. What has happened in other states is that the dental or fertilizer industries volunteer to pay initial costs under contracts that protect the industry and state from all liability.

State legislators need to hear from you, not just lobbyists. They need to support cities' efforts to reopen libraries and address budget shortfalls, not thrust cities into more conflict. The state should let local governments decide this issue, and local governments should protect the right of individuals to make their own medical choices.

Let's hope people who value safe, clean water and independent medical choices will persuade elected officials. Start with the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Call or e-mail the entire committee and legislators via http: /Legislative/LegislativeInformation/ContactMyLegislators/tab id/3799/Default.aspx. Select "Joint Ways Means Committee," then check boxes next to legislators' names.

Ultimately, this is about choice, not fluoride. We will debate fluoride science (below) if this goes through, but this is really about how you choose to prevent cavities, depression, obesity, etc. and maintain your health.

Fluoridated systems don't use naturally occurring fluoride; they use contaminant that fertilizer producers paid to dispose before they started adding it to drinking water. Eleven unions, representing more than 7,000 workers at the EPA called for a national moratorium on drinking water fluoridation, citing a possible cancer risk.

In March 2006, the National Research Council released a report concluding that the level of fluoride allowed in drinking water is too high, that children consuming the highest EPA-permitted level may be damaging their teeth, and that it may even decrease IQs. It found that 10 percent of children drinking water with high-fluoride levels developed severe dental fluorosis, (enamel stains and pits). Shortly afterwards, a Harvard study found a correlation between fluoridated water and a rare form of bone cancer in young boys.

Not only is fluosilicic acid harmful, but the benefit is refuted: a 1990 National Institutes of Health study revealed that children in fluoridated communities had 0.6 fewer decayed tooth surfaces (half a cavity) than those who didn't drink fluoridated water.

Controlling dosages to babies, children and ailing residents is nearly impossible, yet essential; the American Dental Association warns that children under one year old may develop fluorosis from fluoridated water and encourage the use of filtered water in formula. A University of Iowa College of Dentistry study of 700 Iowa children's diets showed that 25 percent consumed twice the fluoride they should.

Act now to protect drinking water.

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