The Safe Water Advocates of Burlington (SWAB) urged the Burlington City Council last week to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water, charging that it was “toxic waste” and a “by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.”
Burlington has been fluoridating city water since 1952, using a chemcial called hydrofluorosilicic acid. In June, the Burlington Board of Health voted 3-2 to recommend that Burlington continue fluoridating the drinking water but consider reducing the amount.
But SWAB wants the city to eliminate fluoride completely from the public water supply.
At the Monday night public forum, SWAB’s Loyal Ploof called fluoride a “chemical that does not work and children are overdosing everyday on it.” He announced he was collecting signatures on a petition so that the issue could be placed on the public ballot. “I think this city is going down the drain,” said PLoof, who announced his candidacy for mayor. Ploof is currently a member of the Burlington School Board.
Michael Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network, said, “Fluoride is defined as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration. You would need a prescription from a doctor to get what you drink every day. Fluoride works topically and not by ingesting it. The Food and Drug Administration has never approved any product containing fluoride for ingestion.” Fluoridation should not be considered an “extension of dental practices,” he continued, referring to the support of fluoride by many area dentists and dental hygienists.
University of Vermont anatomy instructor Laurie Larson said that too much fluoride could cause hypothyroidism, cancer, brittle bones, hip fractures, and other ailments. “The City of Burlington does not have my consent to medicate me with fluoride,” added Owen Mulligan.
After nearly an hour of testimony with SWAB members charging that fluoridation was “forced medication via the public water supply,” Council President Ian Carleton announced that the issue would be placed on the council’s September agenda.