VALPARAISO — Instead of convincing the city to halt the use of fluoride in its water system as he had hoped, Gary Foreman was asked to do what he already is doing: lead the public discussion on the issue.
Foreman, president of Native Sun Productions in Valparaiso, came to Monday’s City Council meeting asking that the city take the lead by no longer adding fluoride to the water and asking Gov. Mitch Daniels to consider a statewide ban on the chemical, which is credited with improving dental health while at the same time being a component in nerve gas.
The city’s water contains naturally occurring fluoride at the level of about half a part per million, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends a maximum level of about one part per million. The city adds fluoride to bring its water to the recommended level, which is what Foreman opposes.
He told the council fluoridated toothpaste contains a warning that it should be kept out of the reach of children, and a person should seek medical help if they swallow more than the amount used for brushing. He said it’s a toxin that collects in the body and can cause a number of health problems.
“Fluoride is considered by an overwhelming majority of scientists and chemists to be a major toxin to the human body,” he said. “The human body does not desire or need fluoride for well-being or healthful longevity. The (Federal Food and Drug Administration) has never approved the use of fluoride in public water.”
Foreman made a similar request of the city’s Utilities Board in the fall of 2003. At that time, the board, on the recommendation of Utility Director John Hardwick, agreed to wait for the results of a new study on effects of fluoride by the National Academy of Sciences. The report was expected in the spring of 2004.
The report is now expected to be released next week. According to the American Water Works Association, the report examines whether the limit set by the EPA is adequate to avoid any adverse health effects. It does not examine the risks or benefits of adding fluoride to drinking water to improve dental health.
Foreman cited many recent studies that connected fluoride to health problems such as bone cancer in young boys. He said most European countries have halted fluoridation of water and their dental health is as good or better than that in the U.S. He provided a list of scores of American communities that have halted the use of fluoride.
Councilman Ed Howe said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering increasing the fluoride level in water, and Hardwick said the number of cities that start using fluoride each year is about equal to the number who stop using it. Councilman Joey Larr said none of the nation’s largest cities have stopped using fluoride.
Paul Sechrist, a retired chemist who worked for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, supported Foreman saying, “Why put something in the water that hurts people? I’d rather lose my teeth than my brain, liver or kidneys, which is where fluoride accumulates. I think we were sold a bill of goods.”
Mayor Jon Costas said the city needs more information and will wait for the academy’s report, but he asked Foreman to lead the public discussion on the issue.