Fluoride Action Network

Halt Fluoride Supplements State Health Department Warns

Source: Topanga Messenger | January 31st, 2008 | By Lee Michaelson

The Messenger has obtained a copy of a memo from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Health and Human Services Agency to health providers recommending the suspension of prescription fluoride supplements for at least one year in areas served by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The memo, dated October 1, 2007, notes MWD’s plans (which have now been fully implemented) to begin fluoridation of the treated water it supplies to member agencies within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Ventura Counties, and states “[b]y adjusting the fluoride content of [MWD’s] treated water supply, [MWD] will supply its member agencies with water that contains the optimal level of fluoride.”

Noting that some local public water systems use MWD water exclusively, while others blend MWD water with water from other sources, possibly unfluoridated, before delivering it to customers, the memo states that the one-year suspension of fluoride supplements will allow all local public water systems time to record the actual average fluoride levels occurring in their water.

“Halting supplements during this one-year period will help ensure that consumers do not receive more fluoride than is necessary and will not have an effect on tooth formation in children,” the memo tells doctors and dentists. “After one year, and thereafter, we recommend that you resume verifying the fluoride level of your local public water system using the CDPH website…. If the average fluoride level of your local public water system is 0.6 ppm (mg/L) or greater, CDPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest you discontinue fluoride supplements for your patients.”

What this means is that instead of receiving prescription supplements of sodium or calcium fluoride, which are manufactured under pharmaceutical conditions and dispensed by doctors and dentists aware of the specific medical conditions, sensitivities, dosage requirements and reactions of their patients, the State Health Department is now recommending that the public rely exclusively on the the toxic chemical waste product from the phosphate fertilizer industry that MWD is mixing into the public water supply on a “one size fits all basis” with no regard to individual differences and no medical follow-up. Norma Arceo, spokesperson for the State Department of Public Health, said she could not explain why the department felt blanket fluoridation would be preferable to medically supervised supplements for individual patients who actually need them. “It’s not up to us. It’s a law that it needed to be in place,” she stated. In fact, however, here is no law that requires the fluoridation of either Topanga-Malibu water or MWD’s water supplies.

The memo bears the signatures of Dr. Mark B. Horton, State Director of Public Health, and Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, County of San Diego Public Health Officer. Arceo said she could not explain why the warning against possible overexposure to fluoride was not posted among the health alerts on that agency’s websites except that “we don’t post all our correspondence on the website” and “we depend on the local health departments in the counties to distribute the notice.” Neither MWD nor District 29 have issued general warnings to their customers of the risk of overexposure if they are using prescription fluoride supplements and water consumers have not been advised to consult their health providers on this subject. Such a warning was also conspicuously missing from the memo from Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County’s Public Health Officer, to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky endorsing without qualification the safety of the fluoridation programme. (See “Yaroslavsky Responds on Topanga-Malibu Fluoridation,” above).