Two points of view, and two sets of facts, regarding the addition of fluoride to the city’s drinking water were presented to the Del Rio City Council Tuesday night.
The first presentation council heard was from a local group called Environment Concerned Citizens of Del Rio, led by Carmen Gutierrez and Rosa Linda Sanchez. Gutierrez and Sanchez formed the group after they were both students in an environmental biology class at Southwest Texas Junior College.
Sanchez, in her request to be placed on the council agenda, wrote that she wished to discuss “the health hazards of ingesting fluorosolicic acid (fluoride), will ask city council to take measures in having this toxic waste product removed from our city water.”
Gutierrez and Sanchez presented the council with nearly 40 pages of documentation against the addition of fluoride to city water.
“As a person with a family history of endocrine disorders, as a parent and as president of our group, I ask that you please review the information packet provided to you. All the information outlined by Ms. Sanchez is available online. We ask that you review the (city of Del Rio’s) 2004 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report with the special notice column on page one, read the information located on page three and look objectively at the issue,” Gutierrez told the council.
“Know that our neighboring cities, Laredo, Eagle Pass and Uvalde do not have this additive in the water supply. The voters of Uvalde did away with fluoride over 20 years ago. Contrary to proponents of this additive, the fact is that after all these years there are no published reports to support an increase of strong teeth due to the addition of fluoride,” Gutierrez continued.
She told the council, “Aside from the serious health concerns that fluoride creates, we are also concerned that this highly toxic waste product is being contained between our beautiful San Felipe Springs and two schools.
A tour taken by us at the 90 East water treatment plant made us realize the potential of a spill or leak would be devastating to our area due to an accident or terrorist threat.
“Handling is so toxic that employees are required to wear special suits, and the city is considered a Hazard Employer paying extra insurance due to this,” Gutierrez added.
She asked the council to research the issue and discontinue the addition of fluoride to the city’s drinking water or to “make non-fluoridated drinking water available at certain locations for persons who are vulnerable or who choose not to drink fluoridated water” or “to let the voters decide.”
“Treat the water of Del Rio, not the people,” Gutierrez finished.
Following Gutierrez’s presentation, the council also heard from Tom Napier, fluoridation engineer for the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Fluoridation Project.
Napier presented the council with an American Dental Association booklet titled “Fluoridation Facts” and a statement from U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, which states, in part, that fluoridation “continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community.”
Napier also gave a PowerPoint slide presentation to the council focusing on the benefits of fluoride.
Napier said the purpose of the Texas Fluoridation Project was to “promote fluoridation and educate the public and communities about the benefits of water fluoridation.”