Wellington, Kan. — Posters claiming poison is in the City of Wellington’s drinking water are unfounded and untrue, city officials say.
Bright yellow posters claiming “There is Poison in the Tap Water” have been spotted on the north side of Wellington. The posters claim fluoride in the water system is dangerous and could cause neurological damage, an increased risk of bone cancer and even death.
An open letter published on the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DemandSafeWater says it will only be a matter of time before the city will be forced to answer to the dangerous effects of fluoride.
“The fact that sodium fluoride (and other chemicals) is a very dangerous substance is well established. It has no business in our drinking water. The City of Wellington concedes that sodium fluoride is an deliberate additive, meant to prevent tooth decay and nothing could be further from the truth. This long-time deception will end – regardless of any federal incentives that have made this operation so appealing to the elected public servants.”
City Manager Gus Collins says the City of Wellington has been adding sodium fluoride to the water system since at least 1994 and so far, nothing dangerous has been linked to the additive.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment monitors the city’s water, testing it four to five times a year at random, Collins says. The city has consistently had 2 mg/L of fluoride in the water system with the suggested limit set by KDHE at 2 mg/L. The maximum contaminate level for fluoride is 4 mg/L, Collins said.
“We have consistently tested at 2 mg/L,” Collins said. He said the addition of fluoride is standard practice for municipalities or entities that supply water to its residents.
“Is it absolutely necessary, no … but it’s absolutely safe and we will continue to look into it,” said Collins.
Local dental experts are behind the addition of fluoride in the water system, saying the health benefits outweigh the risks.
“It helps strengthen teeth,” said Dr. Gwen Stalcup DDS. “There are some old-timer dentists that tell me there is a huge difference from before they started adding fluoride to the water and when they started adding it. That it really started cutting down on kids cavities.”
Stalcup says the enemy isn’t the fluoride in the water, it’s sugary drinks and bad habits.
“A lot of the kids don’t drink the water, they drink pop or bottled water so you do see more of a decay that way,” Stalcup said. “The pop would definitely be worse, there is no comparison there.”
Dental hygienist for Erickson and Gill, Kyle McIntosh, who has worked in Wellington for 10 years, says any drug like sodium fluoride can be dangerous.
“When I was in pharmacology class, at the very beginning and it talks about drugs, the very first thing in the chapter it says, ‘All drugs are poisonous, but at the right level they have a therapeutic effect’ so anytime you have to much concentration of fluoride…it can be very toxic…I haven’t heard of anybody dying from it and they have been putting fluoride in the water since the 1940s and 50s and there hasn’t been entire towns dying from fluoride or having cancers,” McIntosh said.
The hygienist says people need to know the facts before they fall for myths about fluoride additives. He says there are more important health issues to worry about.
“I’ve been drinking Wellington water for 15 years now and I’m still here, the only thing I have to worry about is my cholesterol,” McIntosh, said laughing. “They worry about fluoride in the water, but do they worry about the health of the lower socio-economic population, what’s their solution for that?”