October 15, 2015
Mayor Bob Joslin and City Council
City of Arab, Alabama
740 North Main Street
Arab, AL 35016
RE: Arab Water Works (AWW) – Reconsideration of Fluoridation of the Public Water Supply
Dear Mayor Joslin and City Council:
I’m writing to confirm, as committed to Dr. John York and the other AWW customers in attendance at the AWW Board meeting on September 22, 2015, and to Mayor Joslin on October 5, 2015, that the Board will continue to reconsider fluoridation of the public water supply. However, as conveyed to the AWW customers in attendance at the Board meeting and to Mayor Joslin, our Board meets once per month. Our next Board meeting is October 27, 2015.
There are at least two sides to any debate. The debate of whether communities should be fluoridating their water supply with hydrofluorosilicic acid (“fluoride“) which is recovered from smokestack scrubbers during the production of phosphate fertilizer is no different. This industrial-grade fluoride can be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and radium that can accumulate in humans and is not comparable to the pharmaceutical grade of fluoride used by the dental and medical profession. Yes, there are numerous research studies and endorsements from various groups and government agencies which promote the benefits of fluoridation of the public water system to promote dental health. However, there are likewise numerous research studies which indicate otherwise or indicate that there has not been sufficient research on humans on the long term effect of consuming even the level of this industrial-grade fluoride recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (a level which was previously recommended not to exceed 1.25 ppm and lowered in April 2015 by HHS to .7 ppm or less). There are peer-reviewed research studies that suggest that fluoride in the public water supply may result in negative health impact to the human body, including lowered IQ in children, ADHD, hyperthyroidism, and damage to bone structure, to name a few. Again, this is the debate that remains ongoing today among leading toxicologists, biochemists, and others in the scientific and research communities.
There is no doubt that, based on the information available in 1972 when fluoride was first introduced into the public water supply in Arab and the surrounding communities, and in the years following, the decision to begin fluoridation and continue the same was well intentioned and generally supported. However, it’s been over 40 years since this practice was implemented. AWW has studied this issue for at least three years. This issue deserves thoughtful and careful review rather than a rush to judgment based on the information provided the Mayor and City Council in the last two to three weeks in support of only one side of this issue.
Each of the members of the AWW Board represent generations of families who have called, and continue to call, Arab, Alabama our home. Our goal has been and continues to be to responsibly serve all families who are customers of the high quality drinking water provided by th AWW in the City of Arab and its surrounding communities. We hope and expect you will join us in pursuing this goal with a spirit of working together cooperatively.
The Board looks forward to sharing the information from its research on the issue in the very near future.
Arab Water Works
cc: Charles Whisenant, Editor, The Arab Tribune
See original letter