The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District will discuss water fluoridation at the Sept. 9 board of directors meeting in an attempt to address growing concerns about the tap water additive that many people believe does nothing to improve dental health and is actually a poison at the root of many illnesses.

General Manager John Mundy said the meeting is intended to inform the public and the board of directors about the history of fluoride and the laws that govern the use of fluoridated tap water in California.

Because the Las Virgenes district purchases its water from the Metropolitan Water District, the issue of whether to fluoridate or not, “is not a decision that is made here,” said Jeff Reinhardt, customer service and public affairs manager at the district.

Calabasas resident Robert Singer, a member of the Conejo Valley Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, a grass-roots organization based in San Diego, has pushed for a public discussion of the issue. In a letter to Mundy, he requested that the district refuse “future water deliveries that contain Hydrofluorosilic acid and its contaminant.”

The district, however, cannot refuse water from the MWD since Las Virgenes does not have its own local water source. All water in the 65,000-customer Las Virgenes area is supplied from the state water project, Mundy said.

Singer is also calling for a document to be entered into the official public record concerning agency “accountability, transparency, compliance with the law, conformance with industry standards and duty of care.”

Several Oak Park residents are members of the citizen’s group as well, including Caroline Aslanian and Nicole Johnson.

Aslanian told Las Virgenes board members at the July 22 meeting that she was speaking on behalf of her parents, who can’t afford the $700 reverse osmosis system needed to remove fluoride from their tap water.

“I’m here to represent my parents,” Aslanian said, “and people like my parents who don’t have a choice but to use fluoridated water. My parents don’t have a choice to get rid of it.”

Fluoride, opponents say, causes a host of health problems, including fluorosis—which in mild cases causes teeth to be discolored—to skeletal fluorosis, a crippling condition.

Fluoride advocates say the minute amount of fluoride added to water is a benefit to public health and has helped curb tooth decay for more than 50 years.

Aslanian said just because fluoride has been added to tap water for years “doesn’t make it right.”

Johnson has tackled the issue in Oak Park, addressing the Triunfo Water District on several occasions. The MWD law stipulates that any water district with less than 10,000 service connections can be exempt from the law, but since Triunfo obtains all its water from the MWD, the point appears to be moot.

Johnson added that the citizens’ group has been asking for longterm toxicological reports. The report is legally required for any substance put in the water supply, Johnson said. Triunfo, she said, did their “due diligence” and found that these reports have never been filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. They simply don’t exist.

“So the manufacturer has not done what they are legally required to do,” Johnson said. “Strangely, the absence of this report doesn’t bother the board, but it deeply troubles those of us who don’t wish to consume what the EPA considers to be toxic industrial waste.”

Mundy said the district is in compliance with Assembly Bill 733, a bill passed in 1995 that requires the Department of Health Services (DHS) to regulate drinking water and to establish standards for monitoring contaminants that may be hazardous to public health. A contaminant is defined as any substance found in water, including beneficial elements.

The intent of the bill is to reduce tooth decay among California children.

To remove water from the water supplies in the Las Virgenes area would require a third party to construct and operate a facility that is not subsidized by ratepayers, Mundy said.

The amount of fluoride added to water is tiny, Reinhardt said. Four milligrams per liter is the level considered safe by federal standards; 2 milligrams per liter is California’s maximum contaminant level, and Las Virgenes treated water includes 0.8 milligram per liter, he said, adding that naturally occurring levels of fluoride in the water measure 0.4 milligram per liter.

Johnson and other opponents of the additive don’t want any fluoride added to water. “We’ve never been given the opportunity to vote for this medication to be added to our water,” Johnson said.

The meeting is at 5 p.m. Tues., Sept. 9 at the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District headquarters, 4232 Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas.

For more information, call (818) 251-2200.