Fluoride Action Network

An unnecessary additive

Source: NorthJersey.com | April 5th, 2012 | By Holly Stewart, Columnist

We are very concerned that total fluoride exposure is not safe for children. EPA is relying on outdated science to support this increase in fluoride exposure. – Richard Wiles

From the “should be a bigger news story than it is” file comes this alarming reality: The New Jersey Legislature is attempting to pass bills that would require the addition of fluoride to every public water supply in the state. With little or no public input or address regarding this topic, our state leaders have chosen to pursue the addition of MORE fluoride to public water. Conversationally referred to as the “New Jersey Public Water Supply Fluoridation Act” in both houses, S-959 has already received a favorable vote from the Senate subcommittee, while the Assembly is pondering the outcome of Bill 1811 in this session.

Oh big deal, you say. Fluoride is good for your teeth because it protects the enamel. It occurs naturally in many aquifers. While both of these things are true, neither statement tells the whole story. In fact, getting a full account of fluoride – its dental benefits, natural presence in water, and possible side-effects – is no easy task for the casual observer. However, after a few hours’ research on the Internet, I have been able to discern a few things regarding this elusive topic.

1: Currently only 20 percent of New Jersey residents are exposed to added fluoride in their drinking water. This makes NJ the fourth-least fluoridated state in America. 2: Fluoride’s benefit to dental enamel is purely topical, so it makes no sense to ingest it into the body by placing it in drinking water. 3: Too much fluoride in the body can lead to organ damage, including that of the thyroid and the brain. It can also reduce IQ levels in children and cause teeth to become brittle from overexposure, a condition called dental fluorosis. 4: In January 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) proposed a lowering of fluoride levels in municipal water supplies, so why on earth are NJ legislators attempting to increase population exposure to this hazardous additive? 5: Fluoride is easily obtained by using toothpaste that contains it, so why is it necessary to put it into our water supply as well?

From the way it is treated by our culture, you’d think fluoride was a magical element, worthy of protection and the utmost secrecy (kind of like Dick Cheney). I remember brushing my teeth as a kid and being strongly encouraged by my mother not to swallow the toothpaste. It was terrible-tasting stuff anyway, so that wasn’t a problem, but it was many years before I understood why I wasn’t to ingest any of that minty froth. Fluoride seemed to be a friend, but only when used properly. It is, in reality, a serious poison. Like mercury, it can be useful in very small doses, but you wouldn’t want to experience an overdose of it.

In anticipation of these pending bills becoming law, many New Jersey municipalities – including Butler, Riverdale, and West Milford – are drafting their own resolutions against the force-feeding of fluoride into the water supply. Regardless of the health implications discussed above, the towns are primarily taking issue with the expense of such a project. Calling it an unfunded mandate from the state, they are rejecting it because the high cost of initializing and maintaining fluoride programs will be passed on directly to state taxpayers.

When you think about how little of the fluoridated water will actually be used to prevent dental decay, it makes sense to reject the notion altogether. Consider how many residents buy spring water instead of drinking from the tap, and how many others use filtration systems that will probably eliminate fluoride on its way into the home. Yet nearly everyone uses water from the tap to wash their clothes, their bodies, their floors, and to water their plants, gardens, and vegetables. So all of that preciously-laden fluoride water will be running off into the sewer drains instead of into our bodies, its intended target. What a waste!

Join me and the NJ League of Municipalities, the NJ Sierra Club, the NJ Business and Industry Association, and the citizens’ group No Fluoride New Jersey in standing up against these ridiculous, expensive, potentially dangerous bills.

Contact S-959 sponsors Loretta Weinberg and Joseph Vitale directly at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/. The corresponding Assembly bill is 1811 and is being sponsored by Herb Conaway, Louis Greenwald, Nancy Munoz, and Cleopatra Tucker. Find them listed at the same website under “find your legislator > general assembly.” Do it today.