Fluoride Action Network

Sandpoint: approves Clean Water Additive Accountability Ordinance

Source: City Council Meeting Minutes for April 21, 2010 | April 21st, 2010
Location: United States, Idaho


Councilman Reuter stated that a majority of the Public Works Committee opposed the proposed ordinance, but Councilwoman Davis wanted the matter to be discussed with the full City Council. Councilwoman Davis felt the proposed ordinance sets an objective standard and criteria for assuring the safety of water additives. She stated the accountability issue is the reason she wanted this matter to be discussed with full council because if the manufacturer won’t provide information available to the City, its residents and consumers, then there needs to be an understanding of what the City’s accountability is.

Public Works Director Kody Van Dyk explained if the ordinance is adopted, then City Council needed to repeal the fluoride ordinance. He didn’t think a fluoride supplier would comply if this proposed ordinance was adopted. He stated having fluoride in the City’s water system is a policy decision set by council. Councilwoman Davis pointed out Section 7 of the proposed ordinance would repeal the ordinance. Mr. Van Dyk confirmed to Councilwoman Ogilvie that the City would save money by eliminating fluoride from its water system of approximately $70,000 to $100,000, plus equipment costs. He stated the supplier does not have to report on a compound that is less than ½% of the solution of the material. He stated the manufacturer confirmed the compound meets National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) 60 qualifications.

Councilman Reuter commented NSF has an industry standard that exists in Idaho Code. His difficulty with the proposed ordinance is it is an inappropriate way to remove fluoride from the water system. Councilwoman Davis replied Idaho doesn’t regulate the NSF regulations, and the information is not subject to public notification. She stated the proposed ordinance would allow the ability to have decision criteria in place for any additives to be added in the future for human treatment. She said she read articles suggesting lower levels of lithium would reduce suicide rates, and cholesterol reducing drugs would assist in overall public health. Councilwoman Logan was alarmed by the assertions, as lithium additives were jokingly referred to Japan and England regarding mental health status. She raised concern with Internet advised education.

Kody Van Dyk explained the only item not related to potability is fluoride. He said three other main additives to the water system are chloride for disinfection, soda ash for Ph adjustment and another component that makes particles larger in order to filter out. Councilman Snedden raised concern with possible Idaho or Federal law that would impact regulation. He asked if the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) authorized fluoride in public water systems. Kody Van Dyk replied, if fluoride is used, DEQ requires certain regulations. He noted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated NSF to conduct the testing.

Councilwoman Davis moved to adopt the proposed Water Additive Accountability Ordinance. Councilman Snedden seconded the motion for purposes of discussion.

Councilwoman Logan referred to the EPA website that the Safe Drinking Water Act requires the DEQ to review each national primary drinking water regulation at least once every six years and revise them if appropriate. She said the document produced in March 2010 indicates what elements will be reviewed, and the summary of the six year review indicated that fluoride is not appropriate for revision at this time. According to the National Research Council, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is required to establish exposure standards for contaminates in public drinking water systems that may cause any adverse effects on human health. Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminates regulated by EPA, and, in 1986, the EPA established a maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) and maximum contaminant level (MCL) for fluoride at 4 milligrams per liter and secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) at 2 milligrams per liter. The concentration the City of Sandpoint maintains is 1 milligram per liter. According to the Board of Pharmacies, the act of adding already manufactured fluoride to water does not make the water supplier a “manufacturer” under the Idaho Pharmacy Act. Councilman Schuck referred to earlier testimony regarding the asbestos problem in Libby, Montana. He preferred to err on the side of caution and didn’t want to put additives in water if they were harmful. Councilwoman Davis clarified that the National Research Council, at EPA’s request, reviewed fluoride again and recommended that it should be revisited because they felt the level should be lower. The EPA does regulate the maximum contaminate level goal but has nothing to do with the manufacturer or the act of putting the additive in the water. She said there is concern with long time exposure to low concentrations from fluoride. She urged council to review research on this matter on the CDC website.

Councilwoman Logan referred to the memo from the Idaho Department of Welfare office provided from Kai Elgethun, PhD, dated January 29, 2010. The memo concluded that adding trace amounts of fluoride to water systems at a concentration of approximately 1 part per million delivers fluoride for ingestion within the therapeutic window and below the limit at which adverse effects are known to occur. Councilman Snedden felt the goal of the ordinance isn’t restricting the ability to put additives in the water to make it drinkable but instead it would restrict additives to the water that impacts human health, but he didn’t feel the proposed ordinance was the best way to accomplish the intent.

Councilman Reuter pointed out fluoridation of water is supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAOP), National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA). He also noted the United States Surgeon General feels water fluoridation is the most cost effective, practical and safe means of reducing the occurrence of tooth decay in a community. He stated every United States Surgeon General for the past 50 years has supported community fluoridation.

Councilman Reuter moved to amend to table Item L, Water Additive Accountability Ordinance, indefinitely. Councilwoman Logan seconded the motion. The motion failed by a majority of council with Council members Snedden, Ogilvie, Davis and Schuck dissenting.

Councilwoman Davis moved to amend the proposed ordinance as follows: eliminate “contrary to public assumption” from the first Whereas; eliminate the third Whereas and replace with “The City of Sandpoint desires to ensure public safety by only adding pure products to drinking water for purposes of treating humans”; the paragraph above Section 1 to read “Requirements for public drinking water additives for purposes of human treatment unrelated to water potability”; Section 1, to remove residents and replace with “the City of Sandpoint water users”; Section 2 to read “A public water system operator serving water users of the City of Sandpoint shall require that the manufacturer of a specific drinking water system additive intended to treat or effect the bodily functions of consumers shall provide a list of all toxicological studies on the health and behavioral effects of continued use of their specific product. An update of the list of toxicological studies on the health and behavioral effects of each product content and contaminant shall be annually. The water system operator shall make these submissions by the manufacturer readily accessible to the public” and, in Section 3, to replace “residents” with “water users.” Councilman Snedden seconded the motion. Councilman Schuck felt the matter should go back to committee. Council members Snedden, Ogilvie and Davis voted yes. Council members Logan, Reuter and Schuck voted no. Mayor Hellar voted yes. Motion passed.

Councilman Snedden moved to refer the proposed revised ordinance to the Public Works Committee for revisions that preserve the intent of the ordinance and for legal review by the city attorney. Councilman Reuter seconded the motion. The motion passed by a majority of council, with Council members Ogilvie and Davis dissenting.

– END –

See: April 7, 2010, discussion of Ordinance