December 17, 2008 – Ellijay, GA: With more than 50 communities across the U.S. voting to reject water fluoridation on Election Day last month, the recent firing of Dalton, Georgia water employee Wally Babb for voicing concerns about fluoridated water is focusing a spotlight on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control near Dalton.
In 2007 CDC received a formal ethics complaint over CDC officials’ failure to publicly acknowledge damaging information about the safety of fluorides in CDC’s own research and in reports from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the National Research Council.
CDC Associate Director for Science James Stephens’ response to the complaint did not address a number of questions in the complaint, including questions about why the Black community, kidney patients, and others were not informed of fluoride’s health risks.
Purchasing Coordinator Wally Babb notified his superiors at Dalton Utilities that he could no longer in good conscience purchase the fluoridation chemical used by the utility after learning that the National Research Council in 2006 designated kidney patients, infants, and diabetics as “susceptible subpopulations” that are especially vulnerable to harm from fluoride ingestion.
His stand against fluoridation gained further credibility when the National Kidney Foundation changed its position about fluorides, forcing the American Dental Association to remove NKF’s name from the Dental Association’s list of water fluoridation supporters.
The updated 2008 statement by the National Kidney Foundation says that kidney patients “should be notified of the potential risk of fluoride exposure.”
Babb also highlighted for his employer a little known state law allowing Georgia communities to pursue a referendum to opt out of fluoridation, but the Utility declined to pursue or endorse a referendum. His stance and statements resulted in his termination by the Utility in November.
Dalton Utilities continues to stand by its actions in firing Babb. But a backlash against the firing and against fluoridation is mounting, particularly in Georgia and Tennessee, the two states sharing a border near Dalton.
The firing has generated a scathing letter of condemnation of both CDC and Dalton Utilities by the union of professional employees at EPA headquarters in Washington DC.
“Instead of addressing his concerns…you chose the reprehensible and dictatorial option of trying to silence him,” writes Dr. William Hirzy, Vice President for the EPA union.
In Tennessee, two State Representatives, Frank Niceley and Joey Hensley, have called for an end to all water fluoridation in Tennessee. Representative Hensley is a physician and a former fluoridation supporter.
Joining Dr. Hensley in speaking out against fluoridation, Representative Frank Niceley recently stated in a letter to a Chattanooga newspaper editor, “Mr. Babb is a hero. He should be commended, not fired for sticking up for people who are being harmed by fluoridated water.”
Kidney patients and fluoridation opponents in Tennessee are also condemning Babb’s firing. An open letter supporting Babb is circulating to collect signatures from Tennessee kidney patients.
Black communities in Tennessee and Georgia are learning of Babb’s actions. “Fluorides harm kidney patients, and blacks are especially affected by kidney disease,” Babb says. “And I learned that CDC’s own data show that blacks are disproportionately harmed by a staining and pitting of teeth called moderate or severe dental fluorosis,” he adds.
Photos of the disfiguring teeth damage can be found at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/dental-fluorosis.htm .
Daniel Stockin of The Lillie Center, Inc., a Georgia-based public health training firm that filed the formal water fluoridation ethics complaint with CDC’s joint ethics committees, notes that, “Attorneys are figuring out that fluoride is the next asbestos. Financial and legal liability fears are why CDC refuses to answer certain questions about water fluoridation, such as who is to pay for teeth repair for citizens with moderate and severe dental fluorosis, and who is to buy unfluoridated water for families with babies that don’t wish to mix fluoridated water with their babies’ milk formula.”
“Given that 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, why hasn’t CDC told kidney patients their risks from ingesting fluorides?” he asks.
In addition to finding himself without a job, Babb’s firing has jeopardized health care coverage for his wife who has multiple sclerosis, and who recently underwent surgery to remove a tumor.
Babb and his wife remain committed to their stance. “This is the right thing to do,” Babb says. “You pay a much higher cost when you compromise on the truth.”
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Text of CDC ethics complaint: http://www.fluoridealert.org/cdc.ethics.complaint.aug.13.2007.pdf
Text of the EPA union’s letter: http://www.fluoridealert.org/dalton.epa.letter.2008.pdf
Daniel Stockin: 706-635-7720 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wally Babb: email@example.com
Tennessee Rep. Frank Niceley: 615-741-4419 or Rep.Frank.Niceley@legislature.state.tn.us
Tennessee Rep. Dr. Joey Hensley: 615-741-7476 or Rep.Joey.Hensley@legislature.state.tn.us
Contact for Daniel Stockin: 706-635-7720
The Lillie Center, Inc. P.O. Box 839, Ellijay GA 30540. Ph: 706.635-7720. Fax: 706.635.8170.
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