Fluoride Action Network

Hannah-Beth Jackson leads vote against testing of fluoridation products

Source: Citizens for Safe Drinking Water | April 26th, 2001

As Chair of the California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials in a hearing on April 24, Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) was the only Committee Member to voice her opinion on AB 1565 – The California Product Quality Control Act.

Citing her memories of fluoridation being described as a communist plot, her living previously in a fluoridated region of Massachusetts, and harboring her own ideas about how higher lead concentrations are found in the blood of children in water districts that use artificial fluoridation agents from the phosphate fertilizer industry as opposed to the addition of sodium fluoride or no additional fluoride at all in the public water, Jackson stated that she didn’t think it was necessary to test the actual chemical compounds used for fluoridation as called for in the bill.

The bill, introduced by Assembly Member Dennis Mountjoy (R- Arcadia), directed the Department of Health Services to not certify any fluoride-releasing compound for addition to the public water supply that has not been specifically assessed for safety by a government agency, assessed for effectiveness in reducing tooth decay by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and been certified to not contain any contaminants (such as lead and arsenic) that exceed the California Public Health Goals for those contaminants.

“When the Legislature first addressed the fuel additive MTBE, we were guaranteed MTBE was safe. After a long struggle, we found MTBE contaminated our water. Now we’re dumping a complex fluoride compound into our water. We cannot in good conscience put chemicals in our water unless we know they’re safe,” said Assemblyman Mountjoy.

J. William Hirzy, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist in the Risk Assessment Division of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) at EPA, represented the union that consists of and represents all of the toxicologists, biologists, physicians, chemists and other scientists and professionals at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Headquarters, Washington, D.C., and testified in support of the bill.

Hirzy had previously represented the union of EPA scientists before the U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on Arsenic, Radon, and Fluoride on June 29, 2000, calling for a moratorium on all fluoridation until proper toxicity testing has been performed.

“It is the consensus of protective agencies the world-over that when you are exposing large numbers of people to a substance, or that there is an indication of some risk in exposure to the substance, that there has to be safety testing before production and use,” said Hirzy before the Assembly committee. “The chemical used in 90% of the fluoridation systems in the United States, and is likely to be used in most of the systems in California, is hydrofluosilicic acid or its sodium salts. There simply has not been adequate testing of that material, yet roughly 140 million people are exposed to this stuff every day.”

Myron Coplan, co-author of two studies that found elevated lead levels in the blood of 280,000 children in Massachusetts and 151,000 children in New York also testified in support of AB 1565. The Masters and Coplan studies showed a doubling of the incidence of the danger level of lead in children’s blood when silicofluoride or hydrofluosilicic acid is present in the public drinking water.

When the representative of the California Dental Association (CDA) opposing the bill stated that she had already disclosed their reasons for opposition in her person-to-person meetings with each of the Committee members and stated that she did not think it was necessary to go into the reasons any further, Jackson asserted that this was a public hearing and the proponents of the bill had made some serious charges that she wanted the representative to address.

Asked to respond to the statements that the actual substances used to fluoridate public water have not been tested, Cathy Mudge, the CDA representative, stated, “Fluoride is fluoride is fluoride,” that the CDA’s position is that the silicofluorides dissociate in water so that it is the same as sodium fluoride.

Hirzy responded, “Certainly it dissociates, but not totally. At least 1/3 of the substance does not dissociate, which presents considerable risk.”

Another moment of contention between the supporters and opposition to the bill came when Anthony Pescetti (R-Rancho Cordova) asked whether the FDA had tested any of the fluoride compounds.

Jeff Green, Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water replied, “As we have provided each of the Committee Members in our bill information package, in the response to the U.S House Committee on Science investigation on fluoride, the FDA, in writing, states that they have never approved any fluoride substance intended for ingestion for the purpose of reducing tooth decay, including fluoride drops, tablets, and vitamins.”

Mudge denied that statement and stated that sodium fluoride in drops and tablets are approved by the FDA, to which Hirzy responded with the exact text of the FDA’s responding statement dated December 21, 2000, “No NDAs {New Drug Applications} have been approved or rejected for fluoride drugs meant for ingestion.”

Green added, “To those that would argue that this bill would deny those that have already voted for fluoridation, we have to be clear that no city council, legislature, or  individual citizens, who voted for fluoridation were ever informed that their vote was for adding an untested substance with contaminants above the Public Health Goals.”

Jackson stated that she wished that the California Medical Association that wrote a letter of opposition was present to address the issue, as the CDA representative provided the sole opposition testimony, but, never-the-less, voiced her support of the dental association and medical association that opposed the bill and stated that as far as she was concerned the proponents of the bill had not convinced her of the need for the legislation.

With a vote total of two Noes, four abstentions, and three absent in the Committee at the close of the item discussion, AB1565 was not passed out of the policy committee.

“We need to make sure the chemicals we add to our drinking water are safe for us and for our children and I’m extremely disappointed that the Committee did not vote to protect Californians,” Mountjoy concluded.

AB 1565 – Support
Action Now
Arastradero Preserve Stewardship Project
Bay Area Action + Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation, Board of Directors
California Chiropractic Association, San Diego District
California Citizens for Health Freedom
California Public Interest Research Group
Chapin Enterprises
Christine’s Cleanse Corner
Citizens for Health of the Inland Empire
Citizens for Safe Drinking Water
Citizens For Safe Water in Habitats of Modesto-CA
Clark’s Nutritional Centers
Clean Water Action
Creative Health Network
Earth Island Institute
Elk Grove Vitamins, Etc.
Environmental Dental Association
Green Party of Santa Cruz County
Health Alliance International
Healthcare in Harmony with Nature
Health Guardians
Health Medicine Forum
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
John Paoluccio Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Loomis Center of Cosmetic Dentistry
National Health Federation
National Nutritional Foods Association
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280, (Union of EPA scientists)
Nutrition Cottage
Ocean Beach People’s Organic Foods Market
Sacramento Chapter of National Health Federation
Sacramento Citizens for Safe Drinking Water
Safe Water Coalition
Santa Barbara Citizens for Safe Drinking Water
Save Water Coalition of Washington State
School of Healing Arts
Society for Orthomolecular Health-Medicine
Sunny View Lutheran Home
Texwave Creations
The Foundation for HEALTH
Whitaker Wellness Institute Medical Clinic

Dentists – 2
Medical Doctors – 6
Individuals – 1532
Doctor of Naturopathy – 2
Optometrist – 1
Chiropractors- 2
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist – 1


California Dental Association
California Medical Association
City of Dana Point
City of Santa Barbara
East Bay Municipal Utility District
League of California Cities