Fluoride Action Network

Lynden council to consider ‘discontinuation of fluoridation of city’s water supply’

Lynden Tribune | Sept 27, 2023 | By Taras McCurdie
Posted on September 27th, 2023

LYNDEN — On Sept. 18, Gloria Bode told the Lynden City Council she wants fluoride removed from the city’s water supply.

Bode’s husband is Gary, one of the seven men who make up the council. After she spoke, Candy Hoksbergen, Elisha Wyant, Betty Van Dyken, Khushdip Brar and Becki Taylor also told the council they were not happy with fluoride levels in the city’s water.

Following statements by members of the Facebook group, Lynden Against Its Toxic City Water, Gary Bode made two motions, both of which passed council’s vote.

No. 1 was to “place consideration of the discontinuation of fluoridation of the city’s municipal water supply on our city council’s agenda for a future meeting.” Second, “to direct city staff to develop a schedule, public notice strategy and date for public hearing before the city council, consistent with the new state law on the question of whether the city should consider discontinuing fluoridation of the city’s municipal water supply.”

From attending the Public Works Committee meeting in early July regarding the water fluoridation topic to gathering local business owners’ names about supporting the removal of fluoride present in the city’s water system to displaying signup sheets around town and to submitting letters to the editor at the Lynden Tribune, the Facebook group has advocated for its Lynden neighbors and educated the community on the water they are consuming daily.

“In these past three years, our world, our nation, state and city have become aware that we need to question what we are told by authorities,” community and Facebook group member Gloria Bode said. “We have ways to research on our own now that were not present in the past.”

Lynden Water & Additives 

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the state does not require public water systems to add fluoride to drinking water, leaving that decision to each community.

In 1959, members of the Lynden City Council voted to incorporate this water fluoridation process into its own water system. Currently, Lynden is also the only city in Whatcom County to fluoridate its water system.

According to the CDC, community water systems in the U.S use one of three additives, “Fluorosilicic acid: a water-based solution used by most water systems in the U.S. Fluorosilicic acid is also referred to as hydrofluorosilicate, FSA, or HFS. Sodium fluorosilicate: a dry salt additive, dissolved into a solution before being added to water. [And], sodium fluoride: a dry salt additive, typically used in small water systems, dissolved into a solution before being added to water.”

In an article by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), an organization dedicated to preventing fluoride and its harmful effects from reaching the public, wrote that these fluoride chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are not your fluoride compounds used in toothpaste or supplements. Rather, these fluoride chemicals are not “pharmaceutical grade quality,” so they are “unpurified industrial by-products that are collected in the air pollution control systems of certain industries. Due to the lack of processing, these chemicals are known to contain elevated levels of certain contaminants, particularly arsenic. In addition, recent research — including both epidemiological and laboratory investigations — have detected associations between the fluoridation of water with fluorosilicic acid and elevated lead exposure, particularly those living in houses with old pipes.”

Community and Facebook group member Becki Taylor was the last speaker of the public comment period. She told the council she understood that “not one of you sitting here tonight in this room are responsible for that decision that was made back in 1959.”

“Lynden was one of the first cities to come onboard to that,” Taylor said. “I know without a shadow of a doubt it was because they cared for our children. At the time, the propaganda told them it was good for bones, it was good for teeth. We’re not holding you responsible, but we will hold you accountable to the decisions made from here. … I want to be on this side of history in Lynden when we say, ‘It was us in 2023 who turned over this decision that was made in 1959 because we now know better.’”

House Bill 1251, which was passed by Gov. Jay Inslee in April 2023, states that starting July 23, public water systems considering adding or removing fluoridation from their water must notify their customers and the Office of Drinking Water at least 90 days before a vote or decision is made.

Lynden City Council will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2. For more information on water fluoridation, visit www.cdc.gov, fluoridealert.org, www.cancer.org and doh.wa.gov.

Water Fluoridation: Timeline and facts

By Taras McCurdie

Staff Reporter

LYNDEN — In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first area in the U.S. to add fluoride to its communal water system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was a decision based on the results from a study that found children had less tooth decay when they drank water that contained high levels of fluoride; this was important in that time period since many people suffered from toothaches and painful oral extractions.

“Almost all water contains some naturally occurring fluoride but usually too little to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the amount of fluoride in a public water supply to a level known to make teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities,” a CDC article states. “As of 2020, more than 208 million people, or nearly three in four Americans who use public water supplies, drank water with enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay.”

After more than half a century of studies and with results showing a decline in tooth decay, the CDC named community water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The CDC stated the nation’s goal by 2030 is to provide 77% of Americans with enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay; that is a 4% increase from the nearly 73% of the population currently being served by community water systems containing enough fluoride to protect teeth.

However, not all nations see eye-to-eye with fluoridated water. According to an infographic published by Fluoride Action Network (FAN), an organization driven to removing all possible threats of fluoride exposure to citizens’ health, 97% of Western Europe’s water does not contain a single drop of fluoride. Also, FAN explained that even though there is a decline in tooth decay over the past 60 years in the U.S. with some believing it is because of fluoridated water, the World Health Organization’s data shows there is no difference in tooth decay between countries that have fluoridated water systems and countries that do not have fluoridated water systems.

“This water treatment has never been of use in Belgium and will never be (we hope so) into the future. The main reason for that is the fundamental position of the drinking water sector that it is not its task to deliver medicinal treatment to people. This is the sole responsibility of health services,” wrote Chr. Legros, a director for Belgaqua based in Brussels, Belgium, in February 2000.

Jean-Marie Ries, head of Luxembourg’s water department, wrote in May 2000, “Fluoride has never been added to the public water supplies in Luxembourg. In our views, the drinking water isn’t the suitable way for medicinal treatment and that people needing an addition of fluoride can decide by their own to use the most appropriate way.”

In a 2007 published report written in collaboration with ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, it wrote, “The implementation of fluoridation of drinking water is practically feasible, by adding a controlled dose of a fluoride compound to the drinking water. This could be realized at relatively low cost. On the other hand, there are also several major barriers for implementation. In the first place, at present the addition of chemicals to drinking water is prohibited by law in the Netherlands. This law came into effect because it was widely perceived that drinking water should not be used as a vehicle for pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, fluoridation of drinking water would conflict with the freedom to choose for natural drinking water. This principle of freedom of choice is considered as an important basic principle in the Netherlands.”

In its infographic, FAN also wrote that fluoride affects many parts of a person’s body in addition to their teeth. Citing information from a study by the National Research Council, it was found that fluoride had the ability to interfere with functions of the brain, be an endocrine disruptor, affect thyroid function, increase types of diabetes, affect fertility, increase Alzheimer’s disease and other bodily effects.

FAN cited a 2019 Canadian study, which showed an almost 300% higher risk of ADHD in children living in fluoridated areas; this linked back to previous studies examining the effects of fluoride and ADHD levels in the U.S. and Mexico.

In 2023, FAN also cited the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) draft scientific review, which showed 52 of 55 studies connecting higher fluoride levels with lower IQs.

A more relieving bit of information surrounds the connection between water fluoridation and cancer. In an 2022 article from the American Cancer Society (ACS), researchers in 1990 from NTP studying this cause-effect relationship came back with “equivocal,” or uncertain evidence that fluoridated drinking water was cancer-causing in male rats. No evidence showed water fluoridation as a cancer-causing potential in female rats or male or female mice.

ACS wrote there have been some theories surrounding water fluoridation and its risk of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in individuals.

Fluoride, once it builds up in bones, can result in joint stiffness and pain, leading to weak bones and fractures in older adults, the ACS wrote.

However, ACS wrote that researchers who conducted a study in 2000 in the United Kingdom could not find a clear connection between water fluoridation and deaths from bone thyroid or other types of cancers.