TAOTAO Tano CNMI Inc. is discouraging one of the island’s main water companies from producing fluoridated water, saying the compound “is toxic to human beings.”
But Saipan Ice owner Eileen Olopai Pelligrino said fluoridated water is safe, adding that their product secured certification and approval from appropriate government agencies.
In his letter to Pelligrino yesterday, Taotao Tano president Gregorio Cruz said that after doing some research, they found that “fluoride contains lead, arsenic, radium and other toxic chemicals, which causes memory problems, neurological impairment, learning disorders, and hip fractures,”
He asked Pelligrino “to please understand our stance on this issue for it is of great concern in our community.”
Cruz at the same time commended Pelligrino and her company for the services they have been providing to the community.
He said he respects Saipan Ice’s commitment and dedication to “serving our people,” but added that water with fluoride is “a great concern.”
Cruz said rats that were given fluoride developed bone and liver cancer.
“There is enough fluoride in our toothpaste — we don’t need more of it,” Cruz said.
In a separate interview, Saipan Ice chemist Liza Panuringan said fluoridated drinking water is available in the U.S. and has been tested to be safe.
She said tap water in most parts of the U.S. is fluoridated which, she added, helps address problems of tooth decay among children.
The amount of fluoride they use, Panuringan said, is 0.8 ml per liter of water.
Pelligrino said they understand that there are may be some controversy about fluoride, but added that their product is safe and has been approved by the Division of Environmental Quality.
She said they will meet with Taotao Tano to discuss the group’s concerns.
The company said in a statement that fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that can help prevent dental decay. These compounds are components of minerals in rocks and soil. Small amounts of fluoride are present in all water sources.
According to the company, the American Dental Association, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the World Health Organization recognize water fluoridation as safe, inexpensive and effective method of preventing tooth decay among people of all ages.
In the CNMI, the Saipan Seventh Day Adventist Clinic is “pleased to know that Saipan Ice is offering its customers the potion of fluoridated water.”
Family practice dentist, Crystal A. Edmister told Pellegrino in a letter that they “strongly recommend all children between six to 15 years of age (to) have a regular intake of fluoride in optimal levels.”