Residents here will no longer be able to gargle with city water to get fluoride on their teeth.
The city council voted 4-2 this week to quit adding fluoride to the municipal water system, which serves communities from Kootenai to Dover, including Sandpoint.
Source: Bonner County Daily Bee
PUBLIC FORUM (June, 2010)
Mary Baenen, 607 Cedar St., asked why the City would consider putting a product on the ballot in which the manufacturer will not fully disclose what is in their product and why the City would consider putting a substance on the ballot in which there are no toxicological studies showing this product is safe for extended use. She noted there is now a toxicological study of the class of fluoride the City of Sandpoint uses, and the results demonstrate there are higher blood lead levels in children living in communities where fluoride is used. She said the only reason the City is using fluoride is because of the claims that fluoride is safe and effective. She stressed the importance of having accountability for a specific product put into the drinking water. She noted last year she provided the City with a list of 900 signatures from the Sandpoint area requesting the removal of City fluoridation in the City’s water, and 624 of those have a Sandpoint address. She said, within a two month period, she obtained 222 signatures in favor of enacting an accountability ordinance.
Anne Wilder noted the Community Garden is not providing organic produce because the garden is irrigated with City fluoridated water. She raised concern with the amount of fluoride provided in the City’s water system. She stated some children have problems with their teeth due to too much fluoride. She felt people should have a choice of whether they want fluoride in the water, and this issue shouldn’t be on the ballot because the entire public is not aware of the side effects of fluoride.
Jennifer Ekstrom expressed disappointment that the accountability ordinance that was proposed by the Lake Pend Oreille Water Keeper was derailed at the Public Works Committee. She stated the Lake Pend Oreille Water Keeper opposed putting the fluoridation issue on the ballot at the City 2011 general election, as it is an attempt to avoid responsibility by the City of Sandpoint for drinking water additives. She noted, months ago, City Council voted to have the accountability ordinance refined by the Public Works Committee, with the intent of keeping the original ordinance intact, but that did not happen. She noted the City has discovered that the supplier of the fluoridation chemical will not disclose what is in their product, and no one is standing accountable for the safety of this product. She said it would be imprudent for voters to decide about the use of a substance that contains unknown ingredients. It would be poor policy to mandate a situation where 51% of the voters could make a decision on medicating the other 49% of those who depend on the City’s water supply. The City is scheduled to purchase a new fluoridation unit for more than $100,000 before the election takes place, which will be a huge gamble due to the current financial times. She noted City Council has the right, under State law to form a special committee to review this topic. She urged City Council to vote no on sending the fluoridation issue to an election and take immediate steps in forming a special committee to consider drinking water accountability.
Kathy Leone opposed having fluoride in the City’s water. She said there’s a choice to purchase toothpaste with or without fluoride and to choose to have it provided by a dentist. She raised concern that the public is not allowed to choose whether it should be allowed in the City’s water.
Jill White said there should be a demand for accountability, transparency and disclosure of the product. The City should demand that a chemical supplier provide the documents that they are required to submit in order to be certified to sell their product. She felt all documentation should be in the City’s hands for her to review at any time. She urged elected officials who are not for accountability to step down. She opposed having the fluoride issue on a ballot.
Shawn Larsen reported that, on November 9, 2006, the American Dental Association (ADA) advised their dentist membership to warn parents not to mix baby formula with fluoridated tap water. This was because of evidence from the December 2006 National Research Council review that described there was over exposure to fluoride. He noted Mary Baenen provided this information to the City three years ago. He asked if the City passed this warning onto its water users. He said if the City does their due diligence, they should already be aware of this study. He stressed that fluoride should not be voted on by the people, as it’s the City Council’s job to vote on this matter.
Harold Hilton distributed the book “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” to City Council. He reported fluoride is defined as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress and is a hazardous waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. He stated it’s illegal to dump fluoride into rivers and lakes, and it should not be released into the atmosphere, but it is not subject to federal regulations when used in water fluoridation. He stressed the need for the City to have an accountability ordinance with no hazardous waste product be placed on the ballot.
Dean Stackhouse, 1141 Ridgetop Rd., Blanchard, noted one quarter of the concentration of fluoride in drinking water impacts salmon migration. He made a plea that the City needs to save the fish.
Ingri Cassel noted those who are on the City’s water system but reside outside the City limits can’t vote on the fluoride issue. She was puzzled as to why chemical suppliers are not held accountable for products used in the City’s water. She urged City Council to make a decision on the matter without spending the money to put it on the ballot.
Tom Dillin, 311 St. Clair Ave., noted that he signed the petition and opposed the use of fluoride in the City’s water. He stressed due diligence for the City to review the list of signatures of dentists who oppose fluoride, as his dentist opposes fluoridation of the City’s water. He felt there was no reason to put industrial waste in the City’s water. He urged City Council not to believe the propaganda from the ADA, as they are trying to promote a particular product. He noted the public already voted on this issue, as a group worked to defeat former Councilwoman Newton. He said he knocked on doors as precinct committeeman to make sure the rest of the current Council was elected. He stressed that if the current Council continues to deny the public the right to drink clean, pure water, he will continue to work to un-elect the Council who insist on dumping the waste into the City’s water.
Brigitte Gerlach stressed she doesn’t need more toxins that go into her body.
Heather Lewis Sebring, 605 S. Olive, board member of the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, urged the City to keep fluoride out of their water by not allowing the issue to go on a ballot and, instead, City Council should make a decision on this issue. If the supplier of the fluoridation chemical will not disclose what is in their product and are not accountable for the safety or effectiveness of the product, there is a good reason that they are unwilling to stand behind their product. She noted that studies show that fluoride is harmful, and if the issue of fluoridation goes to a ballot, the people will be unlikely to have the ability to accurately assess the situation. She stressed adding fluoride to public water is medicating everyone against their will. She pointed out that she voted for the new Council members based on their stances against fluoridation. A majority of the City Council agreed to have the accountability ordinance brought back to them with minor changes keeping the intentions of the original proposed ordinance intact. But, instead, a minority of City Council brought back an ordinance that was not aligned with the original intent. She stated the elected officials will be remembered as heroes when they vote to remove fluoride from the water.
PUBLIC FORUM (September, 2009)
Stacy Jenkins, 517 South First Ave., opposed fluoridation of the water on the grounds that it is a right to freedom of choice as to whether a person chose to consume fluoride.
Tammy Powell, 171 Vedelwood Drive, also owns property on Jenny Lane, opposed fluoride in the water. She raised concern that fluoride is the only chemical added to drinking water for the purpose of medication to prevent tooth decay. She said all other treatment chemicals are added to treat the water to improve the water’s quality which fluoride does not do. She noted that Europe has banned fluoridation as they feel this is a matter that should be left up to health professionals, not water districts. She asked why the City of Sandpoint would want to burden itself with the task of delivering medicine through its public water.
Jill White owns property at 805 Main Street, noted fluoridation of municipal water has occurred since the 1940s. She said the public has been told that fluoride is good for them and dentists have been taught that fluoride is a benefit. She pointed out the vast majority are unaware that much of the fluoride added to drinking water is actually an industrial waste product. She felt fluoride information was similar to the fables regarding lead, tobacco and asbestos in which medical accomplices helped industry to hide the truth about these substances for generations. She said endless studies, that assured workers that their factories and mines were safe, concealed the truth that thousands of people were being poisoned and dying painful early deaths from these chemicals. She noted that the same professionals and institutions who told the public that fluoride was safe provided the same regarding lead, asbestos and DDT or persuaded the public to smoke more tobacco. She begged the council to take fluoride out of Sandpoint’s water.
Richard Neuder, D.D.S., 1109 Birch St., stated when he started his dental practice 45 years ago, he witnessed in young adults and older patients extensive tooth decay, repair and partial or full replacements. He said when he retired three years ago, he noticed in high school students, there was minimal decay with no necessity of tooth repair. He was convinced that fluoride was a contributor to this and is safe in the city’s water.
Jennifer Ekstrom announced she was representing the organization, Lake Pend Oreille Water Keeper. She noted that the type of fluoride in the city’s water system is not a pharmaceutical grade but a toxic waste product from the phosphorate fertilizer industry and is a widely known contaminant such as lead, arsenic, mercury and other heavy metals that have toxic effects on human bodies. She noted that based on new compelling scientific evidence, the National Academy of Sciences is calling for additional studies about the effects of fluoride that can be connected to ailments such as Alzheimer’s, cancers, diabetes and other ailments. She stated according to the American Dental Association and the Center of Disease Control report, fluoride is most effective if it’s applied topically. She noted pharmaceutical grade fluoride recommended for tooth decay prevention is available at no charge for all children 12 years old and younger through a community health program. She said there’s no reason to spend taxpayer’s money on an unnecessary and questionable additive to the city’s water supply. She urged council to err on the side of caution and stop the use of fluoride.
Laura Bry, 313 Pine St., stated she was the Chairman of the Bonner County Democrats and the President of the Human Rights Task Force but spoke as an individual. She said in 1992 she joined her fellow citizens in opposing fluoride in the City of Bellingham, Washington. When she moved to Sandpoint in 1998, she was surprised that the city had fluoride in its water and took steps to not drink Sandpoint water. She urged council to stop fluoridation in the city’s water system immediately. She also respectfully requested that city council apply the precautionary principle. She said if council had doubt, to leave fluoride out. She stressed that most European countries have done this already.
Heather Lewis Sebring, 605 S. Olive Ave., announced that she represented the Sandpoint Mothers for Safe Water which consists of 350 concerned parents. She stated there was clear overwhelming evidence that fluoride can be effective but research showed that there were dangers when taken as a drink. She said the American Dental Association has warned that it’s dangerous for infants to drink fluoride in their formula. She felt there was no reason to drink fluoride and had concerns that families were medicated against their will. She asked for the right to choose and that parents should decide how to take care of their children. She urged city council to vote to discontinue fluoridation in the city’s water.
John Ukich, D.D.S., 1310 Ponderosa Drive, reported that the American Dental Association declared fluoridation of community water supply as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and since its introduction of fluoride over 60 years ago, it has dramatically improved dental health in millions of Americans. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention proclaims community water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. He said fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter with small amounts already present in all water sources. He noted that the addition of fluoride is like adding vitamins to milk and cereals. He said currently approximately 70% of United States residents consume fluoride through community water systems. He said in the past 8 years, more than 302 communities in 41 states have adopted fluoridation. He noted that studies have confirmed that water fluoridation reduced the amount of cavities in the young by 60%. He said there has been more than 60 years of scientific research with evidence that fluoride is safe.
According to the National Cancer Institute, fluoride in drinking water does not impose cancer risk to humans. He reported that every dollar invested in community water
fluoridation, results in $38.00 saved in dental treatment costs. He said the American Dental Association, United States Public Health Service, American Medical Association and the World Health Organization support fluoridation of water communities. He said he has been a practicing dentist for over 31 years with overwhelming evidence that it benefits children’s teeth. He pointed out that dentists would profit more if fluoride was removed from the water.
Brad Webb, 1120 Superior, Apt B, noted that in 1992, the New Jersey Department of Health Studies demonstrated that osteosarcoma rates are higher among males in fluoridated regions and bone defects were detected in fluoridated water in Newborough, New York with Newborough being the home of the first human health fluoridation experiment conducted in 1945. Over 7,000 environmental and public health professionals called for a moratorium on fluoridation programs across the country and asked that EPA recognize that fluoride imposes a serious risk of cancer in humans.
Jay Mock, 248 Flume Creek, Sandpoint, questioned whether science was ever settled. He commented that Socrates was not a wise man because of what he knew but what he didn’t know. He stated if the city council of Sandpoint would allow the citizens to chose for themselves how much fluoride they receive, they would be wise.
Art Webb, 1804 W. Poplar, stated he has been on the city’s water system for 40 years and encouraged council to do research on the internet which demonstrates overwhelming evidence that the city should not use fluoride at all. He said there has been negative input with little research on the benefits. He urged council to weigh in on both sides with the need to do more research before a decision was made.
Bryce Powell stated that he conducted research with very little evidence that fluoride taken through water is beneficial and there was considerable knowledge that the consumption of fluoride in water is harmful. He said there is evidence that fluoride in water doesn’t decrease tooth decay. He noted the vast majority of Western Europe has rejected water fluoridation and tooth decay rates are just as low as or lower than those rates in the United States. He raised concern that his young son has a white chalk film on his teeth and has been advised that it’s flourocis which is a sign of toxic exposure to fluoride where he obtained this through the city’s water system. He stated evidence does not support the continued fluoridation within the city.
Tom Dillin, 311 St. Clair Ave., opposed fluoride in the city’s water. His main concern was the mass medication of the entire population was a bad idea. He urged council to respect individual freedom, freedom of choice, and urged council to vote to eliminate fluoride from the city’s water. He said if the vote fails, council should send this matter out for public vote.
Mary Baenen stated that she presented a petition with over 1000 signatures to the Public Works Committee and noted that some of the people signed the petition twice but that it demonstrated there were a significant amount of people who want pure safe drinking water without fluoride. She said she was a representative of North Idaho Citizens for Safe Drinking Water which is affiliated with the National Citizens for Safe Drinking Water. She noted that when crops are watered with fluoridated water, it boosts fluoride in food even higher. She said the nature of fluoride is different from chlorine as fluoride does not dissipate when water is boiled. She said since people are consuming too much fluoride by too many sources, fluoridation is not required by law, and was not voted by the people, the North Idaho Citizens for Safe Drinking Water asks city council to stop adding fluoride to the city’s water system.
Harold Hilton, 300 McGhee Rd., Sandpoint, stressed that fluoride (sodium fluorosilicate) had been added to the city’s water without the approval of the citizenry. He said since city council has been informed at previous meetings of the potential dangers of mass fluoridation of the population through city water treatment, each city council member is risking personal liability for any harm that came to any citizen as a result of drinking fluoride in the city’s water. He noted the warning on toothpaste reads “Warning: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or call a poison control center immediately.” He said the same warning does not exist on unfluoridated toothpaste. He referred to Councilwoman Logan’s comment that scientific evidence and information provided by citizens at the last council meeting was antidotal. He said many left the meeting with the impression that several of the council members were non-responsive to the citizen’s plea for safe drinking water. He demanded that city council allow the health professionals to provide the fluoride and urged the city to eliminate fluoride from the city’s water system.
Rob Harrison, D.D.S., 530 S. Florence, stated he is a dentist and supports fluoride in the water. He said in Europe they use a different method of providing fluoride. He reported fluoride is most efficient and is a safe way to provide to those who don’t get regular dental care. He noted there is a natural amount of fluoride in the water and asked whether those who oppose want to filter all the fluoride out or to leave the fluoride at the level in its natural state. He maintained fluoridation in the municipal water system is a benefit to the community and supported it wholeheartedly.
Rick Ballard, D.D.S., 501 Creekside Lane, noted the American Dental Association represents 155,500 dentists who support fluoridation with their expertise behind the research. He said the American Dental Association is not in the business to harm people. He urged council to look at the literature that’s available.
Brigitte Gerlach, 311 St. Clair Ave, felt fluoride was an industrial toxic waste. She said if she wanted fluoride, she can obtain it from her dentist or from the use of
toothpaste. She liked the freedom to choose what she wanted to drink.
Rose Chaney announced that she has lived in Sandpoint for 50 years. She said she has been involved in the dental profession and has witnessed the tremendous improvement for dental health in the children in Sandpoint after fluoridation was added to the city’s water. She noted there are 50% of the children in Sandpoint who never see a dentist and felt it was important that the city continue using this public health measure in the city’s water supply.
Toby McNeal stated there was reputable information on both sides of the issue. He said there are clear indications that there are adverse health effects of fluoride in the water. He suspected when fluoride was started, there were no other valid options to provide fluoride treatment but that dental hygiene has changed with many other resources to obtain fluoride. He stated that removing fluoride from water is extremely difficult and is costly to remove. He felt council would be setting a precedent and urged them to give people the choice of safe clean water.
Allen Banks stated he has a PhD in chemistry and has had 40 years experience in biological and chemical research with emphasis on pharmaceutical development and cancer treatment. He reported through his studies of water fluoridation, that fluoride added to water is harmful for most people and is classified as a pharmaceutical. He referred to testimony from the dentists this evening, that there is a benefit in small children but that small children are not the only people who drink the water. He stated pharmaceuticals should be used for individual treatment only, not for mass treatment. He pointed out there were over 70 scientific articles that demonstrate the harmful effects of fluoride in drinking water. He stated there was a statement from a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, opposition to fluoride by 1500 scientists of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and a scientific survey he conducted himself. He distributed this documentation which was provided to the city clerk for the record. He noted those who live in Bonner County are also impacted by fluoride in the city’s water. He stressed that children should not be medicated without parental consent.
Matt D. Hathaway stressed that the people should have the right to make their own decisions on how they medically treat themselves. He said he contacted the District Attorney’s office but had not received a response to find out what class the “drug” falls under and whether the State provides the right for the city to mass drug the entire population. He stated he recently received a prescription from his dentist for his daughter with a warning that if she consumed a specific amount of fluoride, she would become ill.
Phil Gervais, D.D.S stated he has been a dentist for 29 years in Sandpoint and supported fluoridation of the city water. He said his father was a dentist in a small town in Minnesota which did not have fluoride but added fluoride later with his father witnessing the evidence that fluoride improved dental care in his young patients. He noted that dentists appear to be the only ones who support fluoride this evening but that there was a lot of research, studies and journals over the last 29 years supporting the safety of fluoride. He appreciated the concern of those who opposed fluoride but was in favor of retaining fluoride in the city’s water.
Nikki Salfeld opposed fluoride and didn’t trust all scientific information as its constantly changing. She didn’t think fluoride should be in the water system. She stressed that parents should take the responsibility for their children and that different drugs have a different effect on different people.
Pierre Bordenave, 813 McGhee Rd., stated that he owned an environmental service business in Sandpoint for 26 years. He asked why the city did not make an effort to remove the chemical complex Di Hydrogen Monoxide or DHMO from its water. He noted that drinking large quantities of DHMO can cause serious sometimes fatal electrolyte imbalance and can be fatal if inhaled. In solid form, it can cause tissue damage in a half hour of exposure and is the primary constituent of acid rain. Researchers found nearly 90% of people were willing to sign a petition to ban this universal solvent in the United States. He stressed that DHMO will never be removed from our water supply because it is our water supply. The other chemical name for Di Hydrogen Monoxide is H2O. He stressed to council that it was their responsibility to make decisions and not shirk that responsibility by saying the council was not intelligent or informed enough so you should leave it up to “the people to decide.” He said the people did decide by voting for them and that for the past 55 years, 99% of Sandpoint has not taken issue with this matter. He asked how the AMA, ADA, CDC, EPA, FDA, and the American Academy of Sciences are all in a huge conspiracy to poison the water when not a single legitimate scientific analysis comes to that conclusion. He said the FDA does not define nor regulate fluoride as a drug because it’s not a drug or medication. He reported you would need 800% more fluoride to exceed the EPA limits and even that would not be defined as toxic. He stressed if a person drank 800% more distilled water than recommended in a day, it would be fatal. The real conspiracy would be if dentists said not to use fluoride because it would increase their business. He urged council to table this issue and leave it tabled for another 55 years or until there was some reason for not reducing cavities and dental disease in our children. He said let’s not create a future where we subject ourselves to the joke of saying the best way to compliment a young child in Sandpoint was by saying “nice tooth.”