Fluoride Action Network

What does Iowa’s new fluoride law mean for North Iowa?

Source: Globe Gazette | August 5th, 2021 | By Jared McNett
Location: United States, Iowa
Note from Fluoride Action Network:
It’s unfortunate that the only adverse effects of fluoride mentioned in this article are dental fluorosis and bone. And the sources used for each of these issues are from fluoridation promoters, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Steven Levy, respectively.  As for bone, a 2021 major prospective cohort study from Sweden demonstrates a higher risk of hip fractures in post-menopausal women associated with long term exposure to natural fluoride at levels in water in the same range as the USA fluoridates its water [Helte et al., 2021]. The issue of fluoride exposure associated with loss of IQ in children was not even mentioned, albeit several studies have been funded by NIH, which you can find here, and of course, the Mother-Offspring fluoride studies. (EC)

Amid the myriad of health-related data on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, there is a page dedicated to maintaining information about water systems in all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Across 10 counties in North Iowa: Butler, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth and Wright, there are 86 public water systems listed. Per the CDC’s available data, only half of those, 43, have water that is fluoridated. The remaining 43 systems do not. While the split between fluoridated and not is even per the CDC’s figures, the most-populated municipality in each of those 10 counties is listed as having a fluoridated water system.

Were any of those public systems to move away from fluoridated water, they now would have to give residents within the system a 90-day notice because of a new state law that went into effect in July.

“We had reports that communities had stopped fluoridation and had not informed their citizens or councils,” Iowa’s Public Health Dental Director Dr. Bob Russell recently told the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Doug Tarr, the public works director for the city of Hampton, said that the council there decided a number of years back to continue fluoridating the water but he agreed that it made sense to give early notifications to residents if his or any other municipality moved away from the process of fluoridation.

“I definitely think you’d want to let your citizens know. I think that would be reasonable and responsible,” Tarr said.

According to him, Hampton adds fluoride to its water to get close to the CDC recommendation of about 0.7 milligrams of the mineral per liter of water. Tarr said that he doesn’t worry too much about going above or below that number because officials are putting in the fluoride themselves. “You just have to make sure you’re not overfeeding,” he said.

Mason City Water Works
The Mason City Water Works facility on 13th Street Northeast. Mason City Engineer Mark Rahm said that the water the city draws from the Jordan aquifer has naturally occurring fluoride in it but that is stripped out and then reintroduced. 

Forest City Water Superintendent Kevin Reicks said that there is daily testing at his facility to make sure the water fluoridation levels are at 0.7 milligrams per liter. If it’s not, officials adjust their pump to get to the proper figure. Along with that, Reicks also said that Forest City sends its water off to a state lab to make sure that readings are accurate.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette’s reporting found that the city of Iowa City has flow-controlled pumps for its water so that if the flow slows down, so does the fluoride going in. Then both raw and finished drinking water with fluoride are tested each day.

That’s not quite the case for Charles City. Their water superintendent, Cory Spieker, said that the municipality doesn’t add fluoride to the water at this time. “We have a natural level of 0.68 and the recommendation is 0.7,” he said. Spieker then noted that if there are any issues, officials contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources with concerns.

Why do it?

That same Cedar Rapids story notes that “for every dollar spent on community water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental treatment costs” and that “fluoride reduces cavities by at least 25 percent in both children and adults.”

Still, the process is one that has been ripe for conspiracy theorists in America since the 1940s, when Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first U.S. city to add fluoride to its drinking water. One such notion from the 1960s was that adding fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, to water was a way for communists to rot people’s brains and stymie their reasoning. Reporting from the Washington Post in the 1980s contradicted that notion by finding that samples from the Soviet Union actually had fluoride levels below 0.8. So if the communists were fluoridating water to control hearts and minds, they weren’t doing a great job of it in their own stronghold.

“There is this resistance to fluoride in drinking water and it’s mostly unfounded,” said David Cwiertny in the Cedar Rapids Gazette piece. Cwiertny works at the University of Iowa as an engineering professor and director of the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, which provides free testing for lead and other contaminants in school drinking water.

There are legitimate questions about how much fluoride should be added to water.