As reported in The Citizen in mid-December, the Fayette County Commission by a unanimous vote adopted a resolution that asked Fayette’s legislative delegation to advocate for amending state law from the 1980s that requires a petition signed by 10 percent of the voters from the previous election to trigger a local referendum on water fluoridation. Commissioners said the 10 percent requirement was overly burdensome and asked that the requirement be eliminated in favor of the ability to exercise home rule on the issue.
Today in Fayette there is a local effort aimed at putting the fluoride issue on the ballot, with the additional aim of ending fluoridation once and for all.
In my opinion, the idea of home rule would be a good first-step. It is one that has been implemented in a number of other states by “allowing” local communities to make up their own minds and have their say about fluoridation. It’s worth noting that Georgia, with about 95 percent of the state’s 10 million residents fluoridated, is near the top of the list of states that fluoridate the largest percentage of their citizens.
I hope Fayette’s legislative delegation pays attention to the commission’s request. I also hope that Matt Ramsey, Virgil Fludd, David Stover, Ronnie Mabra, John Yates, Marty Harbin and Valencia Seay look at the readily-available documentation before deciding on a course of action.
On one side of the issue is a growing volume of peer-reviewed research data spanning more than two decades which identifies fluoride as a toxin linked to a variety of diseases in the young and old.
On the other side is a lack of peer-reviewed research and an “opinion” (clearly stated on your tube of toothpaste) based on a 60-year-old statement (that fluoride “may reduce dental caries”) by the then-Public Health Service and parroted today by federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and professional organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA).
Naturally, the state and local health agencies, such as the Ga. Division of Public Health and the Ga. Environment Protection Division, simply parrot what their federal brethren on high have to say on the matter. And like good citizens who believe the politically-driven federal agencies, we also parrot what we’re told, and without question.
But it is from on-high that the problem exists. It involves the juxtaposition of research science and government/corporate politics. Here’s why.
To explain the problem we have to look no further than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As you read this please remember that EPA, like the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), sits atop the national environmental science and policy pyramid which flows down to the 50 states.
In what is perhaps the most damning statements I’ve come across against fluoridation, the EPA’s own Union of Scientists at the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters about a decade and a half ago exposed both the scientific and political issue with fluoridation.
This group of 1,500 scientists, engineers and lawyers came out in opposition to water fluoridation after they refused to parrot EPA’s official position (similar to that of CDC and ADA) brought on by what they called “external political pressure” that EPA was “unable or unwilling to resist.” The scientists decided not to keep the issue “within the family.” External political pressure that the EPA was unable or unwilling to resist — I wonder who might have been applying that pressure and for what reason?
Here’s the link to what the scientists said after several years of opposing EPA’s official position: http://www.nteu280.org/Issues/Fluoride/NTEU280-Fluoride.htm.
If you (and this includes our legislative delegation) don’t read anything else on the issue of fluoridation, I hope you read this and read it carefully. Here’s a sampling of what the scientists at EPA headquarters had to say:
“Since then our opposition to drinking water fluoridation has grown, based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposure to fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion. These hazards include acute toxic hazard, such as to people with impaired kidney function, as well as chronic (low doses of fluoride ingested over a period of years, like with drinking water) toxic hazards of gene mutations, cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, bone pathology and dental fluorosis.”
“The implication for the general public of these calculations is clear,” the scientists concluded. “Recent, peer-reviewed toxicity data, when applied to EPA’s standard method of controlling risks from toxic chemicals, require an immediate halt to the use of the nation’s drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphate fertilizer industry.”
Curiously, but not surprisingly, when it comes to policy matters on fluoridation, the EPA does not listen to its own scientists.
Since the time of the position paper from the scientists at EPA headquarters, there have been additional peer-reviewed studies (now totaling three dozen of them) citing brain damage in young children and others citing links to dementia from this neurotoxin we consume in our drinking water. What is the threshold that will change your mind on fluoridation? Fifty peer-reviewed studies? One hundred? One thousand? When is enough, enough?
The official policy side of EPA and the “external political pressure” that the agency was “unable or unwilling to resist” is Fluoridegate.
In the meantime and on the local level, there is a grassroots effort, and a petition, to put a fluoride vote on the ballot in Fayette County and to end the practice of water fluoridation.
Contact End Fluoridation Georgia at email@example.com or on Facebook at End Fluoridation Georgia for more information on local efforts and the growing list of businesses in Fayette County where petitions can be found.
[Ben Nelms has been reporting the news for The Citizen since 2005.]