Fluoride Action Network

Tahlequah: Drinking water dilemma

Source: Currentland - Vol. 11 No. 12 | December 4th, 2014 | By Michele Schmidt
Location: United States, Oklahoma

A while back we talked about the issue of fluoride (or a form of it) being added to the drinking water in many cities. Currentland’s headquarter city, Tahlequah, is one of those communities with fluoridated drinking water. Though some fluoride is naturally-occuring, the debate is largely focused on the specific additives that communites actually purchase from chemical companies.

Tahlequah buys its water additive from a company called Brenntag, a German chemical distribution company with a base in Nowata, Okla. A representative of the company (who preferred to remain unnamed) confirmed that Tahlequah receives a 23 percent solution of hydrofluorosilic acid (HSF) – which he said is different than hydrofluoric acid, sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate. He stated that the HSF is an NSF certified product that conforms to the guidelines for drinking water additives (available at www.nsf.org).

While the Brenntag web site doesn’t contain easily identifiable information about HSF, a similar company, Mosaic does provide information on their version of hydrofluorosilic acid. They define it as “a transparent, colorless, aqueous solution” and state that it is used for water fluoridation, as well as a variety of other applications (which are not specified). However, they do state that the substance is not naturally occurring: “FSA is produced during the concentration of phosphoric acid in an evaporation process unique to the phosphate industry.”

To the average consumer, this is confusing. A local group of concerned citizens have put together a Fluoride Removal Alliance. They, and other similar groups, follow the school of thought that this substance is actually an industrial toxic waste. The Fluoride Action Network supports this idea, which has been prevalent since at least 1983.

“By recovering by-product fluorosilic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized, and water authorities have a low-cost source of fluoride available to them,” said Rebecca Hanmer of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Whether the substance is harmful at 1-4 parts per million (mg/L) is heavily debated. While the CDC says it’s safe, peer-reviewed studies have shown the opposite to be true. Ultimately, people will have to make their own decisions about that – considering they have access to all the information. Even Brenntag representatives agree that “the public has a right to know” what exactly is being put into drinking water.

Some communities have decided to eliminate water fluoridation completely, but what happens in communities where the majority of people vote to keep adding HSF? A second Brenntag representative stated that it can simply be distilled right out of the water. Find out more about this and other ways to reduce fluoride exposure at www.fluoridealert.org, where consumers can also find out about the latest developments in their home states.