KAYSVILLE — To persuade voters to use the Nov. 2 general election to rid Davis County drinking water of fluoridation, opponents have brought in an internationally recognized five-member fluoride-fighting team.
Three of the five members appeared Thursday at the Utah State Botanical Gardens in Kaysville to discuss science as it relates to the hot-button political issue of fluoridating Davis County drinking water.
Utah State University holds no official position on the fluoride issue.
“Fluoride will accumulate in bone. You only eliminate 50 percent (of the fluoride) you take in,” said Dr. Hardy Limeback, head of the Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto.
Limeback said based on that, water fluoridation, which he at one time supported, is a greater health risk than benefit to the public.
The information shared by Limeback at the media event is a sample of information the group will share at a fluoride education forum tonight at 7 at the Davis County Convention Center, 800 W. Heritage Park Blvd., Layton.
The forum is sponsored by Waterwatch of Utah, a grass-roots group trying to overturn the close 2000 vote to add one part per million of fluoride to drinking water systems.
Waterwatch members say they oppose fluoridation based on its limiting personal freedoms, the health risk it poses and the higher-than-projected implementation cost associated with it.
Health officials initially projected the measure to cost $1.38 per person per year. Those cost projections have since been increased to $4.34 per person per year based on a recent cost study by the county health department.
Others attending the Thursday news conference were Dr. Roger D. Masters, president of the Foundation for Neuroscience and Society; Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, a toxicologist and pharmacologist; and Joe Wall, an Arkansas water operator, who in 1997 while repairing a pump was sprayed on the hands and chest with hydrofluosilicic acid, part of the fluoridation process, and has suffered ill health since.
“I was asked if I was in the Gulf War,” Wall said, when he shared his symptoms of stomach problems and bone and teeth loss with physicians while seeking treatment.
Mullenix said she is concerned water districts will not be able to control the therapeutic levels of fluoridation the public receives.
“We will always have accidents,” Mullenix said. “We cannot control the dose level between that narrow therapeutic range,” she said.
And then there are those who may have an allergic reaction to fluoride, Mullenix said.
Masters said hydrofluosilicic acid, used in 90 percent of the communities that fluoridate across the country, including most Davis cities, can result in enhanced intakes of environmental lead, in turn altering the behavior of individuals by reducing dopamine levels in the brain that are needed to control behavior.
Utahns for Better Dental Health-Davis, proponents of drinking water fluoridation, although invited to attend tonight’s forum, have declined to participate out of concern over how the event is structured.
County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said tonight’s hearing is an anti-fluoridation rally.
“It’s a (campaign) stunt, is what it is. I don’t think Davis County residents are going to fall for it,” he said.
Garrett said an overwhelming majority of health professionals support fluoridation.
But the fluoride team says pro-fluoride groups avoiding debate is nothing new to them.
“They don’t want to get into debates with science,” said Mullenix, who is stunned at how politics has gotten in the way of this particular issue.
Lorna Rosenstein, Waterwatch of Utah spokeswoman, said the travel expenses for the group were paid “with $5 here, $10 there” from those opposing fluoridation.