Rob Hamilton stood on Court Avenue on Saturday in a crowded Downtown Farmers Market and took on what the Centers for Disease Control calls "one of 10 great achievements in public health of the 20th century."
That would be the introduction of fluoride to public drinking water.
"There’s a mountain of scientific information on this," said Hamilton, 34, an artist from Des Moines and the founder of the month-old Citizens Against Water Fluoridation. "The effects are really subtle, and fluoride affects the brain more than anything."
Lower IQ and a diminished spiritual center in the brain due to problems associated with the pineal gland are among the pitfalls of ingesting fluoride, according to Hamilton.
Such a thing as too much fluoride was also embraced as recently as January by Des Moines Water Works, which reduced the amount of fluoride in its drinking water by 0.3 parts per million (from 1 ppm to 0.7 ppm) following recommendations by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, American Dental Association, American Water Works Association and Iowa Department of Public Health.
The adjustment was meant to maximize the dental benefits of water fluoridation while reducing the possibility of children receiving too much fluoride. Even though primary protection from fluoride has been determined to be topical, or on the surface of the tooth, evidence reviewed last year in the American Journal of Public Heath continues to support the addition of some fluoride to drinking water systems.That report showed a strong relationship between fluoride levels in a resident’s county at the time of their birth and tooth loss as an adult. Fluoride was first added to public drinking water in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1945.
While 72 percent of the U.S. population served by public water systems receives fluoridated water, fluoridation is still not used in many parts of the country. The CDC says 27 states provide water fluoridation to more than three-fourths of their residents who have access to public water systems.
Des Moines Water Works, which provides drinking water to more than 400,000 people in the Des Moines area, has added fluoride to its drinking water since 1959. Hamilton said he has met recently with officials from the city and the waterworks about ending the practice, but didn’t get very far.
"I knew a lot of my battles would be in vain," Hamilton said.
That’s why he’s trying to build an army of awareness by taking his cause to the streets. Kari Swain of Altoona signed Hamilton’s anti-fluoride petition Saturday because she said "there’s a reason they don’t put fluoride in little kids’ toothpaste … the latest research shows it is poisonous."
The source of Des Moines Water Works’ water – the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers – naturally contains some fluoride and is supplemented by the addition of fluorosilicic acid, which is a co-product formed during the production of fertilizer.
Jeri Kemple, owner of EcoMaids, said she has signed on with Hamilton’s cause for the same reason her own company takes a chemical-free approach.
"I’m not openly political, but fluoride lessens your brain activity and effects how you relate to the real world," she said. "I’m just asking people if they even know what is in their water."
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