According to city resident Robert Stewart, the people of Rolla are slowly being poisoned by fluoride through its drinking water.

Stewart, a retired assistant personnel officer of the U.S. Geological Survey, told City Council members that fluoride is “poisoning our children.”

Stewart, of 1308 Hillview Drive, presented City Council members data he collected.

“According to The Lancet, a leading English medical journal, sodium fluoride inhibits or destroys the crucial neurotransmitter acelylcholine, which is imperative for the process of learning and memory,” Stewart said, reading from a stack of documents.

However, Rodney Bourne, Rolla Municipal Utilities’ Operation and Public Relations Coordinator, said while he has heard criticism of public fluoridation, the majority of agencies still endorse the fluoridation of water.

“We will support and follow whatever the City Council wishes. However, the direct scientific evidence supports that there is a public benefit to adding fluoride to water systems,” said Bourne. RMU is the city’s utility company, caring for both water and electrical services.

Bourne said he was advised that Stewart desired to address the council on Monday, and he was asked by Mayor William S. Jenks, III, to speak on the fluoridation issue, if called upon.

Stewart presented a myriad of documents speaking addressing the detriments of fluoride. However, Bourne said the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization still endorse fluoridation.

Bourne said the fluoridation has been added to public water systems in North America since 1945.

“I grew up on a farm, and I wish I had it,” Bourne said.

Stewart said scientist Phyllis Mullenix, while doing research for the Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, found evidence that fluoride adversely affects body tissue.

She proved that low doses of fluoride accumulate in the brain tissue, and that the severity of the effects depend on the age of those exposed. The younger were more vulnerable.

Stewart provided a report that said epidemiological evidence from China also confirms a correlation between low-dose fluoride exposure and diminished intelligence quotients (IQ) in children.

Fluoride is the ionic, or electrically charged [form] of the element fluorine. It is reactive and strongly attaches itself to other elements, making them hard and brittle.

According to Webster, sodium fluoride and its derivatives are used in insect and rat poisons. However, because it has a tendency to easily adhere to substances, it has hardening properties.

It is added to drinking water to strengthen teeth from decay. Approximately, 70 percent of public drinking water is fluoridated.

Health officials have maintained that low doses of fluoride are safe and good for children’s teeth.

Rolla, acting through its Board of Public Works, has authorized and directed to add fluoride into the public water supply. The fluoride concentration is approximately one part per million parts of water.

City Councilman Gary Hicks, upon hearing Stewart’s concerns, asked what he wanted.

“So, what do you want the city to do?” Hicks inquired of Stewart.

Stewart responded: “All I want the city to do is repeal the ordinance.”

“We’re paying to get pure water. I don’t want them to add a thing,” Stewart said. “We should have pure, unadulterated water. I understand we have to add chlorine to kill the bacteria. I love the taste of our drinking water. All I want them to do is take the poison out.”

Stewart said the need to add fluoride to the water is really a moot point nowadays because nearly every toothpaste contains the tooth-enamel hardening substance.

“It’s poison. Right on the toothpaste box it says fluoride is not to be ingested, yet we add it to our water. In toothpaste, it can benefit the teeth, but then people spit it out and rinse their mouths. If it’s in the toothpaste, we don’t need it in our water.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency has placed a limit on the amount of fluoride that can be added to water and now call it the “maximum contaminant level.”

Stewart pointed out the EPA is even using the word contaminant when referring to fluoride.

“It says right here on the (toothpase) box that it’s harmful if swallowed. Do not swallow,” Stewart said. “And, we’re putting it in our drinking water. There should be nothing in our water but chlorine.”