More than a year after Fluoride-Free San Marcos began its discussions with the City of San Marcos about halting the fluoridation program in the public water supply, LoveHays.com Publisher, Sam Brannon, addresses Council in an effort to keep the discussions above board and in the public eye.
Publisher’s Note: There is a line that those of us who report local news must walk if we are also active on community issues. In the spirit of full disclosure, readers should note that our Publisher, Sam Brannon, has been actively involved for more than a year researching and validating the arguments against fluoridation of public water supplies.
There are many ways in which reporting one’s own activities can become complicated. Please keep in mind that we are conscious of the traps, and we do our best to avoid them. Its up to readers to decide whether we are sufficiently fair in our reporting.
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We’ll detail the steps we’ve been through with the City of San Marcos in the near future, but for now, we’ll provide some context and leave you with this clip, Sam Brannon addressing the City Council’s continued efforts to push the fluoridation discussion outside of council chambers, and the lack of transparency on the part of City Council.
We appreciate a little latitude as we get readers up to speed on the events of the last year around this issue.
Be sure to view the video of Brannon’s Public Comment at the end of the story.
Over the past year a group of local residents known as Communities for Thriving Water Fluoride-Free San Marcos have been challenging the practice of fluoridating the public water supply in the City of San Marcos, Texas.
A growing body of science raises important questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of such “mass medication”. For one, medicating through a public water supply creates concerns about dosages because the amount of “medication” depends largely on how much water you drink. Somebody who drinks 2 gallons per day gets a great deal more of the fluoride compound than someone who may only drink a few glasses. Further, water and its additives are also absorbed through the skin, so even if you choose not to drink it, its still nearly impossible to control the dosage.
Then there are the ethical issues of mass medicating in general, since not every person responds the same way to certain drugs. We’re also medicating people against their wills, and without what is known as “informed consent”. Are water customers and other users fully informed of what’s in the water? In most cases, they are not.
What we generally refer to as “fluoride” may be several different compounds. First, there is calcium fluoride, which is the naturally occurring fluoride compound that frequently is found in native water supplies. Then there is sodium fluoride, with is the dental grade fluoride, which still comes with “harmful if swallowed” language.
Finally, there is the additive that most public water supplies use, known as hydrofluorosilicic acid, among other names. It is not currently widely understood that this form of fluoride is actually a waste product of the aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing processes, and that it also contains arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, for which there are no safe levels. These facts are not in dispute.
What is in dispute is the safety and effectiveness of these additives.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero has been particularly difficult to work with in this process. He has repeatedly attempted to push the discussion outside of the council chambers, much to the disappointment of those working for a public discussion of the issues. Last October, he directed the Citizens Utility Advisory Board to study the issue and make recommendations, a Board on which he sits as the Ex-Officio Chair. Fluoride-Free San Marcos contends that the hearing was neither complete nor honest, and it took nine months after the CUAB hearing to receive their recommendation in the July 1, 2014 City Council presentation.
In short, the public is becoming increasingly concerned about the apparent foot-dragging of the council on this issue. In the July 1st meeting, Mayor Guerrero stated his intention to appoint a subcommittee at some point in the future to spend 6 months studying the issue, which Fluoride-Free San Marcos finds unacceptable.
It is within this context that Sam Brannon addressed City Council and John Thomaides during the video of Tuesdays Public Comment, including the suggestion that Thomaides recusal due to his ownership of a business that sells home water purification systems that remove hydrofluorosilicic acid and heavy metals from the water.