Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Drop Fluoride from Their Agenda
By Marlene Lily / Sonoma County Gazette / August 1, 2015 / Page 28
After spending seven years in meetings and more than million taxpayer dollars on studies and fluoridation promotion, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (BOS) dropped water fluoridation from their agenda without a word to the press or the public.
Shortly before the May 19 meeting that was planned to present the recommendations of the Fluoridation Advisory Committee (FAC), BOS Chair Susan Gorin phoned a member of the committee and told him simply that the matter had been removed from the agenda.
Asked whether the controversial toxin will be considered in coming months, individual supervisors, two of whom will run for re-election soon, had no comment.
Much new information about fluoridation has been published recently. In June, studies showed that water fluoridation is associated with greater prevalence of ADHD and hypothyroidism in large populations.
Another study showed that the cost savings long attributed to reduced tooth decay from fluoridation is nonexistent. Because of fluorosis (damaged teeth affecting almost half of US teens) and damage to water pipes and equipment, neither of which is ever included in cost estimates, fluoridation’s costs may actually exceed its benefits (if indeed it has any benefits).
On April 27, consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, along with other professionals, sent a 24-page open letter to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), questioning the continued addition of toxic fluoride to the nation’s water supply. The letter challenged all suggestions that there is a necessary minimum dose of fluoride for anyone, demonstrated fluoride’s toxicity, showed that its beneficial effects are topical, not systemic, and that it therefore doesn’t need to be swallowed, and showed that water fluoridation disproportionately harms blacks and Latinos.
In June, the Centers for Disease Control, also part of the HHS, issued a 14-page explanation of why they are recommending the first reduction in 53 years in the amount of fluoride added to drinking water. Their “reviews of the scientific evidence related to fluoride have concluded that community water fluoridation is effective in decreasing dental caries prevalence and severity.”
After reviewing the very same studies, in June the prestigeous Cochrane Collaboration reported, “There is very little contemporary evidence, meeting the review’s inclusion criteria, that has evaluated the effectiveness of water fluoridation for the prevention of caries,” and “there is insufficient information to determine whether initiation of a water fluoridation programme results in a change in disparities in caries across socioeconomic status (SES) levels.”
In Sonoma County, officials claim that fluoridation will mainly benefit low-income children, but this claim—like so many of the promoters’ claims, is not based on evidence.
Cochrane also stated that disfiguring dental fluorisis could be expected in 12 % of children using water fluoridated at the new, lower level of 0.7 mg/L.
Here in Sonoma County, the FAC met for two years, under the auspices of the Department of Health Services, and did not read or consider a single article on fluoride’s effects on health.
When Bill Hirzy, Ph.D., a 27-year veteran of EPA, spoke in Santa Rosa in April, on “Is Fluoridation Dangerous to Our Children?” no one from the Health Department or the BOS came.
Ten years ago, more than 7000 EPA scientists urged that the safe level of fluoride in drinking water be set at zero.
More than 100 local businesses, most in the food and beverage industries, have signed a no-fluoride petition, and fluoride opponents are ready for Round Two [when] the subject comes up again.
[The Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) has committed County funds to schedule a Dental Health Summit at the upscale Vinter’s Inn Event Center . The summit is named “The Secret to a Healthy Sonoma County” and its stated purpose is “Informing and Engaging Communities: Life is Better with Teeth.” DHS water fluoridation advocacy is at the heart of the summit. The Dental Health Summit falls under Brown Act regulations. It is free of charge, and open to the public.]
Marlene Lily is a member of the Clean Water Sonoma Marin Board of Directors. She has been a Sonoma County real estate agent since 1987, and she has worked as a writer and editor.