PINELLAS COUNTY BEGINS FLUORIDATING WATER--IS IT SAFE?-Andrew Stelzer06/07/04
Today, Pinellas count became the last metropolitan area on the east coast to begin fluoridating their drinking water. Supporters of Fluoridation say it helps prevent tooth decay, but a growing number of studies show it may be poisonous, and many citizens are upset about the way the process was carried out in Pinellas County. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has the story. -------------------
ACT Ã¢â‚¬Å“As of 10:10 this morning, the children of Pinellas County have begun to receive a great benefit.Ã¢â‚¬?
John Heilman, the director of the Pinellas county health department, says that the addition of fluoride to Pinellas countyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ water will help prevent tooth decay, especially in children. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been working to get the county to add Fluoride to the water for the last 15 years, and as of today, 600,000 more residents will be getting the chemical in their drinking water.
But some people arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t very happy about it.
ACT-glickman Ã¢â‚¬Å“Its clearly a sad day for the citizens of Pinellas countyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦medicated without their approvalÃ¢â‚¬?
Peter Glickman is President for Citizens for Safe water in Pinellas County.
ACT-glickman Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a violation of peoples human rights to have things put in their water.Ã¢â‚¬?
Citizens for Safe water became active around the issue of Fluoride after the county commission voted last august to add fluoride to the water. There was not much public input before the vote, and the safe water group has been gathering support ever since. The county did conduct a survey of almost 800 citizens. Although 52 percent of them favored putting fluoride in the water, more than half of them also answered that they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if the county already did fluoridate the water, and another quarter incorrectly thought the water was already fluoridated.
ACT-glickman Ã¢â‚¬ËœMost people have no idea this is happeningÃ¢â‚¬Â¦they dont know all the bad studies that have found..Ã¢â‚¬?
Fluoridation began in the first half of the twentieth century; there are differing accounts as to why it spread to most of the country. Being a waste by product of phosphorous plants, the phosphorous industry was instrumental in funding research and promotional campaigns that created a public acceptance and demand for Fluoride. It is well known that in large amounts Fluoride is poisonous; even toothpaste tubes are marked with warnings that if too much is swallowed, a doctor should be called. But supporters of fluoride claim that in small doses, it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t dangerous, even though the type being added to Pinellas countyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s water also has small amounts of lead and arsenic. The county commission vote was 6 to 1 to add Fluoride to the water; the one vote against Fluoridation was commissioner Barbara Sheen Todd.
ACT-todd Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think that our responsibility is to make it as clan and pure as possible..not to add things.Ã¢â‚¬?
Todd also had health concerns after researching the topic and finding that Ireland is the only country in Europe that uses Fluoride, many other countries have stopped using it, and many American cities are dealing with lawsuits and citizens movements to get Fluoride out if the water.
ACT-todd Ã¢â‚¬ËœI donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to overreact but we should base our decisions of science, years ago they put leeches on people, they used to use mercury for dental fillings..we need to keep up with the times
Peter Glickman explains that besides depriving citizens of their right to choose whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in their water, the studies that exist do not address the type of fluoride which is being used in Pinellas county, and 90 percent of the cities in America that fluoridate.
ACT-glickman Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are two very different chemicalsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦one is ..skull and crossbonesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦that chemical has never been tested for safety and effectiveness..and when two commissioners requested studies, Hielman didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t present studiesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦none studied chemical soup Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
The centers for disease control acknowledges that they have not studied hydroflorosiphilic acid, nor has the agency for toxic substances and disease registry. That worries Commissioner Todd
ACT-todd Ã¢â‚¬Å“the information that I received on hydroflorosilicic acid gave me pause..two or 3 major national studies going onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦on appropriate levels of fluoride and the positives and negatives.Ã¢â‚¬?
ACT-todd Ã¢â‚¬Å“I serve on an advisory panel of to the EPAÃ¢â‚¬Â¦while the official position is fluoride others donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t agree, and there was some question, and there was some questions as to the effect on the body.Ã¢â‚¬?
Commissioner Todd asked Dr John Heilman, director of the Pinellas county Health department, for evidence showing teat hydrofluorosililic acid is safe.
ACT-todd Ã¢â‚¬Å“ I asked him to respond to my concerns that this was not the best thing to do.Ã¢â‚¬?
But Dr. Heilman says there are no credible studies showing that Fluoride is dangerous, and citizens worries are unfounded.
ACT-heilman Ã¢â‚¬Å“it seems like theres a ton of studiesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦they are no good.Ã¢â‚¬?
ACT-heilman Ã¢â‚¬Å“ some folks will take a different view of almost everythingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦some folks are strongly opposed to anything the government might do.
WMNF asked Dr Heilman about the evidence that Pinellas countyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s water will be safe with the new additives.
ACT---GOT EM Ã¢â‚¬Å“what are the studies
Commissioner Todd says the other 6 commissioners do not seem willing to budge on the issue. There is a initiative circulating to have the issue placed on Novembers ballot, and in the meantime, Citizens for safe water is asking opponents of Fluoridated water to appear at a county charter review commission meeting. They are hoping to convince to commission to add a sentence to the charter, which would make it illegal for officials to put something in the water that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t increase the safety of water. That meeting takes place on June 14th at, 8AM. Citizens for safe water also meets the 3rd Saturday of every month at 10am the Clearwater east library. For more information call 727-443-4737 or got to www.aquasafe.us
For WMNF news, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Andrew Stelzer