FARMINGTON — Davis County Health is showing little teeth when it comes to making certain its fluoride suppliers for the county’s drinking water supply are compliant with Utah law, Waterwatch of Utah founder Lorna Rosenstein says.
“There are specific laws that are made to protect consumers,” Rosenstein said. One of those laws is House Bill 72, a transparency bill, requiring fluoride chemical companies to provide original documents revealing the contents of their fluoride mix.
HB 72, The Safe Drinking Water Disclosure Act, became effective April 1, 2013, with an extension being offered to the chemical companies of not having to produce documents until July.
But Rosenstein is unhappy with what documentation has been provided to her group through an open-records request to the health department. At a meeting this week, she requested the Davis County Commission intervene.
Prior to that, Rosenstein sent a letter to the Davis County Attorney’s office, requesting it get involved.
“Rosenstein filed a formal request for information and assistance and we are willing to respond and are doing so,” Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said.
But while Rawlings is reviewing the information provided to his office by Rosenstein, County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said he is perplexed by Rosenstein’s pleas to the commission, and attorney’s office. Garrett said his department has provided her with all the documentation it has, that documentation revealing all fluoride suppliers with the county have either provided the necessary documentation of contents to the county, or promised to provide it.
In the two cases where the information required by law has not been provided to the health department by the supplier, Garrett said, that chemical is no longer being used to fluoridate any wells.
“We are in full compliance of the law,” Garrett told the Standard-Examiner.
“I am not opposed to more transparency. I have never withheld a single document that we have had,” Garrett said.
But this is not the first time Garrett and Rosenstein have been on opposite sides of the table when it comes to fluoridating the county’s drinking water.
Waterwatch of Utah has been a long opponent of placing fluoride in the county’s drinking water. Voters approved fluoridation by a 51 to 49 percent margin in 2006.
Based on a letter Rosenstein submitted to the commission, despite Garrett’s verbal assurances that the fluoride companies supplying the county with chemicals are in compliance of the law, no confirming documents were produced upon her making a request via the Government Records Access and Management Act, Rosenstein said.
The health department did provide her with some “fragmented” documentation, she said.
“The health department’s response has always been, ‘We trust them, so should you.’ It is only because we enacted law in 2013 requiring proof of compliance with existing law that the chemical companies are responding at all,” Rosenstein said.
HB 72 requires fluoride suppliers/manufacturers/packagers/distributors to supply “copies of the original, dated documents” in certifying to the public it is in compliance with the state law when it comes to the fluoride chemical mix being used, Rosenstein said.
Rosenstein said she is also concerned there were discussions by officials to prevent HB 72 from being enacted.
“Finally, it has come to my attention that following the GRAMA requests in December and the formal complaint in January, Garrett has met with legislators, the Division of Drinking Water and most likely the chemical company with the specific intention of amending Utah Code (HB72) in this upcoming legislative session,” Rosenstein said in her letter to the commission.
“The proposed amendments appear to enable chemical companies supplying fluoride additives to more easily remain in noncompliance and avoid full disclosure, which seems to have been most everyone’s intent from the onset,” Rosenstein said.
But Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn defends Garrett.
“I am somewhat troubled by the verbiage (of the letter). Do we have proof?” Millburn asked Rosenstein of her claims.
Millburn said it is important to make sure “we drill down to the actual fact.”
Garrett said he does not agree with what is in Rosenstein’s letter where it contains “incorrect information.”
Rep. Roger Barrus, R-Centerville, did run a bill requiring the health department obtain documentation from certified fluoride providers in meeting with national purity standards, Garrett said. He said it’s something the health department has been doing since the onset.
Barrus’s bill goes further in requesting original certified documentation be provided by those providing the county’s fluoride, and that each batch of fluoride chemical carry with it a certificate of analysis, Garrett said.
“Something that the health department was already doing,” Garrett said.
Garrett said he did have a conversation with Barrus regarding having to collect original copies of documents, saying he didn’t feel like that portion of the bill was necessary. “I don’t think that it adds much to the mix to have the original documents,” Garrett said.
But Garrett said he has never spoken against HB 72, and on the two occasions the county has been unable to obtain certified documentation on the fluoride mix from any supplier, it has put a cease-and-desist order on that chemical being used.
In those cases, Garrett said, request for documentation of contents has been made, with the suppliers promising it to the county.