Fluoride Action Network

Selmer, McNairy County: To Fluoride or Not

Source: WBBJ-TV (West Tennessee) | February 2nd, 2009 | By Stephanie Ryan

Selmer Mayor David Robinson says until three years ago, he never thought twice about fluoride in drinking water. Now, he’s fighting to take it out. “If you spill it in any water, a lake, a pond, a creek, international waters, it’s considered a toxic cleanup. Yet we can drip it in our public’s drinking water,” said Robinson. “Not only is it fluoride in there, there’s also arsenic and lead and beryllium and a whole host of other heavy metals.”

According to Robinson, pharmaceutical grade fluoride is not used because of the cost. Instead, fluoride used by most cities, including Selmer, is the byproduct of the fertilizer industry, which Robinson maintains is laced with unsafe byproducts. That’s why he’s now pushing to have fluoride removed from the city’s drinking water. Selmer has voluntarily fluoridated its drinking water since 1973.

Robinson says when fluoride was added to drinking water, scientists didn’t have as much information about the chemical as they do now. “It was sold that fluoride acted systemically. You had to ingest it. Well, since then, they’ve changed it and say it operates topically. Well, if that’s the case, then why do we put it in our bodies?”

Many people in Selmer aren’t concerned. “If it’s gonna help me to have stronger teeth then I’m for leaving it in there, but, you know, us citizens of Selmer look to the Mayor to take care of us,” said John Sanders, Jr. who lives in Bethel Springs.

Robinson says research shows fluoride in drinking water doesn’t do what it is supposed to. “The American Dental Association on their website and in their journal have basically stated that 84% of cavities, which are in the pits and fissures of your back molars, cannot be prevented with fluoride. That’s why they have adopted the sealant program.”

But some dentists don’t buy that. “The benefits of fluoride in drinking water are that they help with recalcification of the tooth if the tooth has a small cavity on it,” said Dr. Nathan Nash, a South Jackson dentist, “The people of the community won’t have to buy or have topical applications. The can just go ahead and drink their water and they’re getting an ample amount of fluoride.”

Robinson says the fluoride debate all boils down to choice. “By putting fluoride in the water, I don’t give you a choice of whether you want to take fluoride.” He urges everyone to do their own research, and recommends you visit the city’s website to watch a video on the issue.