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Questions and Answers



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How are you going to get anywhere if the City has a legal contract intended to fluoridate for 10 years?

On March 1, 2005, the City signed an agreement with the Washington Dental Service Foundation(WDSF) that specified the terms and conditions for the gift of the fluoridation treatment plant.

Section 5.9 states that, should the City stop fluoridation before the 10 year period specified, the City is obligated to pay up to a maximum of $433,000 to cover the costs of the system and legal fees.

Section 5.5 states that the City must continue fluoridation for 10 years “except in the event the City is prevented from fluoridating the Port Angeles water supply as the result of a court order or other judicial decision.” [emphasis added]

Section 8.9 elaborates on this exemption by stating that the City shall not be deemed to be in violation of the agreement “for any reason beyond its control, including...an injunction or other judicial decision.” [emphasis added]

Why is putting medication in water any different from putting other toxins, such as chlorine, in water?

Safe water is ESSENTIAL;medicated water is OPTIONAL and should remain optional. We have the RIGHT to control what medications we use.

Killing bacteria in water is essential to producing safe water even though chlorine is known to produce carcinogens and other secondary toxic molecules. Medications, on the other hand, treat people and are not important to having safe water.

Isn't fluoride found naturally in the environment?

Yes, but so are lead, arsenic, asbestos, and many other toxins that you wouldn't want in your water.  However, the key point is that the form of fluoride used to fluoridate water is very different from the pure form that occurs naturally in some water sources. 

It also differs from the form used in toothpaste or by dentists to treat teeth.  Instead, the City is using fluorosilicic acid, which contains many things besides fluoride. 

The goal of the Water Additives Safety Act is not to keep fluoride out of our water, but to insure that fluorosilicic acid or any other substance put into our water to treat minds or bodies meets certain standards.  A pharmaceutical grade of fluoride would be permitted by the Water Additives Safety Act.

What is bad about fluorosilicic acid?

Plenty!  Fluorosilicic acid is recovered from solutions used to scrub toxins from smokestacks at phosphate fertilizer plants, such as the one pictured below.

The manufacturing process involves adding a variety of chemicals (petroleum products, polymers, naphthalene, sulfides, Synspar, and various others) to phosphate rock, which can also be contaminated.  This chemical soup is heated and the vapors are captured by pollution scrubbers. 

The water used in the scrubbers is from an evaporation pond, into which waste products are often dumped, and then used over and over, accumulating toxins along the way.  Water from the pollution scrubbers is used to make the fluorosilicic acid that is put into our water.  Fluorosilicic acid is contaminated by many different chemicals, and no two batches have the same contaminants at the same level. 

The Water Additive Safety Act is designed to prevent the addition of substances like fluorosilicic acid UNLESS they have been tested and proven safe!  To date, there has not been one single scientific study that has even used fluorosilicic acid--they used the pure reagent grade instead. 

[Note:  This information was abstracted from a letter Gary O. Pittman sent to Congress in 1998.  Pittman worked 21 years at Occidental Chemical Corp. and has a thorough knowledge of how fluorosilicic acid is produced.]

What contaminants are in fluorosilicic acid?

Very little testing has been done.  In July of 2000, the National Sanitation Foundation informed Congress of its tests over a few years.  Several contaminants were found, the most common being arsenic. 

The maximum level found was 1.66 parts per billion (ppb), which exceeds the maximum allowable level of 1.0 ppb, which was lowered from 5 ppb in January of 2000.  Thus, some batches of fluorosilicic acid exceed the allowable level of arsenic, have done so for years, and will continue to do so unless the Water Additives Safety Act is passed. 

Lead and other contaminants have also been found.

Isn't fluorosilicic acid diluted to a safe level?

There is no safe level for some contaminants such as lead. As pointed out in the answer to the previous question, arsenic has been found to exceed current standards for "safe" levels.  These components can accumulate in the body and produce serious problems.

The safe level for fluoride itself is also in question. The 12 members of the National Research Council reviewed the last 10 years of research on fluoride and concluded unanimously that the current maximum contaminant level for fluoride is unsafe and should be lowered.

The fact is that the batches of fluorosilicic acid differ one from the other and they are not tested for safety by any agency. Moreover, the Water Additives Safety Act applies to fluorosilicic acid in the bag—not in the water.

Who is responsible for certifying the safety of fluorosilicic acid?

The FDA. Fluoridation supporters would have you believe that fluoride occurs naturally in our environment and therefore is not a drug.  If it is not a drug, then the FDA would not regulate it.  

However, in hearings in 2000, Congress confirmed the FDA’s position, indicating that “Fluoride, when used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animal, is a drug that is subject to FDA regulation.” Fluoride is added to water in an attempt to treat teeth, and is, therefore, a drug.

To date, the FDA has not been asked to do any studies on safety nor have they done any on their own.

Why hasn’t the FDA tested fluoride for safety?

The FDA argues that fluoride was grandfathered in because it was in use before 1938. However, the only use at that time was for rat and roach poison--water fluoridation did not begin until 1945!

Thus, the FDA is basically saying that since fluoride is okay for rat poison, it is okay to put into our drinking water.

Hasn't 60 years of use in water demonstrated that fluoride is safe?

Definitely not! This point is emphasized by Dr. John Doull, University Kansas Medical Center, who chaired the most exhaustive review ever of the research on fluoride, the 507 page 2006 report by the National Research Council entitled Fluoride in Drinking Water

In an article by Dan Fagin, “Second Thoughts about Fluoride” (in the January 2008 issue of Scientific American), Doull was quoted as follows: (from page 80)

"What the committee found is that we've gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years-for too long, really—and now we need to take a fresh look."

"In the scientific community, people tend to think this is settled. I mean, when the U.S. surgeon general comes out and says this is one of the 10 greatest achievements of the 20th century, that's a hard hurdle to get over. 

But when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on.  

I think that's why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began. In the face of ignorance, controversy is rampant." 

What is Port Angeles currently using to fluoridate water?

Fluoridation of Port Angeles drinking water, like that of most cities nationwide,  is being carried out using an  industrial grade material that contains a  wide range of  toxic materials, not just the dozen metals currently recognized by EPA under the Clean Water Act. 

EPA, in 1988 delegated regulations, monitoring and certification for fluoridation to a private consortium which, as a non-governmental entity, claims its records are proprietary-Forget about public rights to disclosure!  Required testing is sketchy at best: to test one lot per year for each manufacturer or handler regardless of how many shipments are sent forth.

Are there other problems with putting fluorosilicic acid in our water?

Definitely!  It is much more corrosive and dangerous than calcium fluoride, the form found naturally in water.  Fluorosilicic acid is dangerous to handle, hazardous when spilled, and emits explosive hydrogen gas upon contact with metal. 

The acid can damage water pipes, water meters, hot water heaters, and other "containers." 

It would be against the law to dump a couple gallons of it into the Strait, yet the City will be dumping tons of it into the Strait over the years through its sewage system unless the Water Additives Safety Act is passed.