Appreciate city decision
I am writing this letter to support the decision by the city mayor and council to stop the fluoride program. I do not dispute any facts of the pros or cons of fluoride in the water system.
I do feel that it was never right to force every meter account to pay for fluoride and then if you did not want it you had to pay to have fluoride removed or pay for drinking water with no fluoride.
Now, those people that want it can choose how they want to get it. More than 10 million gallons of water were fluoridated weekly and only approximately 150,000 gallons of water were needed for drinking weekly (but all of our toilets and lawns had strong teeth).
Trust the experts
Re: City fluoride decision
With a master’s degree in toxicology and a bachelor’s degree in human physiology, I have studied the effects of —and strongly disagree with the decision to discontinue — community water fluoridation. I am sincerely disappointed with the irresponsible and rushed response of the city council in regards to the fluoridation of the SAWS, Downer Addition and city water. I fail to see the appropriateness of putting fluoridation to a vote so soon after the data of a less than representative community survey had been reported without consulting professional or expert advice. I fear the public was not offered timely nor sufficient information on the topic to form an educated opinion prior to surveying. Additionally, in an effort to save some money, surveys were sent via USPS in an unnoticeable envelope to a small percentage of the customers. A topic of this caliber should have appeared on last year’s ballot; we would have seen an honest representation of Sheridan’s desires.
Only 12,363 of the 20,000-plus residents served by our community water supplies were offered a survey. Of those surveyed, only 4,203, roughly 21 percent of our community, responded. Of those, 2,311 opposed, while 1,892 supported fluoridation, which is an alarmingly narrow margin. Sheridan City Council unanimously decided to discontinue fluoridation based on the opinion of a meager 10 percent of our community, which seems unjust at best. To my knowledge, there was not an opportunity to educate, inform or weigh in on the judgement that will greatly impact the health of all socioeconomic classes in our community.
Acute fluoride toxicity occurs at a minimum ingestion of 0.1-0.3 mg/kg (of body weight), which is on the conservative side. For example, a 10 kg (22-pound) child would need to ingest a minimum 1-3 mg of fluorocilicic acid (the fluoridating agent used in our community) to risk acute toxicity. At 0.7 parts per million, the concentration at which our water was fluoridated, that child would need to drink a minimum of 421 ounces, or 52.5 consecutive 8-ounce glasses of water, or 3.28 gallons of fluoridated water to risk acute toxicity. That amount of water would certainly cause death by hyponatremia (water toxicity) prior to the child displaying any symptoms of fluoride toxicity. For an adult, the required ingestion increases dramatically. Information similar to this has not been available to the public, which fuels the fear of toxicity and “global medication.”
Fluoride has been proven to dramatically aid in the prevention of dental caries and improve oral health over our lifetime. The dental providers in our area fight for fluoridation despite having a guaranteed increase in business without it, which should speak to its importance. To those worried about chemicals in the water, may I remind you that the water serving SAWS, Downer Addition and the city is treated with the following compounds (as reported by the city) for health, safety and equipment protection: aluminum sulfate, cationic polymer, soda ash, sodium hexametaphosphate, carbon and chlorine. None of these compounds are being questioned, but rest assured, they each carry their own toxicity risk, which is decidedly outweighed by their respective benefits; similar to fluoride. We could solve the issue of misinformation or lack of education by asking dentists, toxicologists, physicians and other professionals to aid in educating the public and council members prior to changes that affect the entire community. After all, we trust our car to the mechanic, our vision to our optometrists and our safety to our law enforcement officers; why wouldn’t we want the appropriate parties to weigh in on this matter?
Maison Furley, M.S.
Editor’s note: The word count for this letter was waived.