Longmeadow — Troubled by what he says is a threat to the health of the citizens of this community, Water and Sewer Commissioner Bruce Randall is speaking out.
“Three years ago I didn’t know anything about (fluoridation). But as a water commissioner, I felt I owed it to my constituents to learn,” said Randall, referring to the practice of adding fluoride to the Town’s drinking water. Fluoridation was passed by referendum in the November 1986 election by a vote of 3,073 to 2,645, but was not implemented until January 1989. Today Longmeadow is one of more than 100 cities and towns in the state who fluoridate their drinking water, a practice Randall finds very disturbing.
“This is not medical grade fluoride. A toxin is being added to our water. It is not a nutrient like calcium or chromium but a toxic by-product from the aluminum and fertilizer industries. And once it gets in your body, it is not flushed like vitamin C — it stays there,” he said. Just how much fluoride are Longmeadow residents getting in their water? “No one in this town can tell you,” says Randall. “It’s in your food and in your juices. It’s in the Kellogg’s cereal you ate this morning. If it’s so great, why isn’t everybody adding it to their drinking water? Why isn’t it mandated? Why aren’t other countries fluoridating their water?”
According to the water commissioner, no one has ever been diagnosed as being fluoride deficient. While the (chemical) may be classified as a health aid, he said, it is not a requirement. And ingesting too much fluoride may actually do more harm than good.
For example, if you get too much of the chemical in your system you can end up with skeletal fluorosis. And at really high levels it can kill you,” he said, noting that even at lower levels fluoride has the potential to be harmful.
In fact, contrary to popular belief some people — including several Longmeadow residents — have reported experiencing an allergic reaction to the chemical, said Randall.
In addition, he said, peer review studies have shown that in some cases fluoride may be linked to higher incidences of hip fractures, arthritis, bone cancers, thyroid disruption, and increase children’s lead uptake.
“This stuff (the fluoride we add to our water) comes from Japan. They don’t fluoridate in Japan. Why? They’re not stupid. They are sending their poison to us. They want it off their island”
And judging by the nuber of voters who signed a petition to get the question of fluoridation back on the ballot, it appears that many Longmeadow residnets want it out of town. If enough people at the Town Meeting say “yes”, then it goes to referendum in 2005.
For Randall, an elected official of this town, the issue of fluoridation remains especially troublesome.
“As chairman of the Town’s Water & Sewer Commission, I’m supposed to provide safe, clean water to the people of this town and I’m not.”