EUREKA SPRINGS — Alarmed by the appearance of a half-page ad promoting water fluoridation in the June 19 Lovely County Citizen (the ad also appeared in this newspaper June 20), Carroll-Boone Water District (CBWD) Office Manager Jim Allison contacted this newspaper Friday to inquire about whether it was a paid ad and its source.
The ad was sent by the Arkansas Press Association to its member newspapers and required it be run under a membership agreement.
The ad, which shows a child brushing her teeth, says, “got teeth? get fluoride! Water fluoridation is a safe, effective way to prevent tooth decay. Each dollar spent on fluoridation saves $39 in dental treatments. Tooth decay can be prevented.”
It is sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Office of Oral Health, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Allison, along with 10 other water operators at CBWD, had already written a letter dated June 13 to Dr. Lynn Mouden, director of the state Office of Oral Health. He asked, under the Freedom of Information Act, whether new legislation is afoot in the state legislature to require fluoridation of the water supply and whether affected parties, such as water district operators, would be notified.
He said he had attended a class called, “Fluoridation in Arkansas: An Update” on April 28, presented by Glenn Greenway, at the 77th annual meeting of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Association in Hot Springs.
“Glenn indicated that mandatory fluoridation was to again be introduced to the State Legislature but when asked to further explain, Glenn said the class was about operations and he would not elaborate,” Allison wrote.
He asked Mouden whether his department is in the process of introducing such legislation in the 2009 session and if so, at what point affected parties would be notified.
“They tried to sneak it through last time,” he said, referring to legislation passed by the House in 2005 under “a cloak of secrecy” and not made public until it reached a Senate committee hearing.
At that hearing, Allison and fellow water operators testified as “adamantly opposed” to the state mandating water fluoridation, he said in his recent letter, “especially with the increased information learned since 2005 about the harmful effects of fluoride.”
The measure failed.
Of the four member cities that make up the Carroll-Boone Water District, only Eureka Springs voted against it two previous times. Without unanimous agreement, it could not pass and be added to the water supply.
Allison was careful to say that he and his fellow operators do not officially represent the CBWD Board of Directors on the issue, but only themselves.
In his 2005 letter, he stated, “when the fluoride issue came up several years ago for the District, we along with the citizens of Eureka Springs, began to research the fluoride issue and became disturbed by the information we were finding…. We are disturbed by the potential harm to our customers and operators for handling and consuming a poison more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic made from industrial waste.”
He noted training materials for water districts recommend the use of “bone char and bone meal to remove fluoride from the source point water. We know it to be a big leap, but do you suppose our bones are removing fluoride from our system much like treatment process mentioned above.”
Allison cited the American Dental Association’s warning against mixing infant formula with fluoridated water and the fact that fluoride is not approved by the FDA.
On June 3 of this year, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) released a position paper updating its statement about hemodialysis patients using fluoridated water. The paper noted that in a city that “accidentally” over-fluoridated its water, one patient died and several became severely ill.
The NKF advises that dialysis patients be warned of the risks of using fluoridated water for dialysis.
Although the NKF would not go so far as to recommend an “optimal level” of fluoridated water, it did state that its 1981 paper stating no risk from fluoridation was “outdated” and was withdrawn.
Following that statement, the American Water Works Association was notified it must keep all documents related to fluoridation in case of possible lawsuits in the near future by kidney patients and others who might be harmed by the additive.
Allison ended his June 13 letter to Mouden with, “The opposition to fluoride of every licensed operator at this facility has not changed and we plan to be in the fight against mandated fluoridation.”
Allison received a reply Friday from the Arkansas Department of Health, informing him, “Your ‘questions’ do not meet the requirements of the (Freedom of Information) Act.”