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Let Your Voice Be Heard

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency for the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name, Proposition 65. Proposition 65 is a voter approved initiative that addresses the public’s concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals, and requires that the State publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. Currently, the list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

The Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) advises and assists OEHHA in compiling the list of these harmful chemicals. Fluoride and its salts, and tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate will be considered for possible listing by the CIC at its next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, October 12 and 13, 2011.

The City of San Diego—as well as the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, and Imperial Beach—began fluoridating all of its drinking water in February 2011, following the San Diego City Council acceptance of an offer of funding from the First 5 Commission in June of 2008. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there are profound and consequential disparities in the oral health of our citizens that have resulted in a “silent epidemic” of dental and oral diseases that disproportionately affects low-income and minority populations. The First 5 Commission of San Diego County states that, “Community water fluoridation is considered the safest, most effective, cost-efficient and equitable means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community.”

But what does fluoridation mean to you and your health? How do you feel about public water being used as a vehicle for mass medication? And, how do you feel about having city water, water that you pay for, fluoridated against your will?

According to the Fluoride Action Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the health effects of fluoride ingestion (due to water fluoridation as well as other sources), there are at least fifty reasons to oppose fluoridation. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that the mechanism of fluoride’s benefits are mainly topical and not systemic. This means that the fluoride that you swallow in your drinking water won’t be doing you much good (if any) as it splashes by your teeth on the way to your stomach. In April of last year, an issue of Time magazine included fluoride on a list of “The Hazards Lurking at Home,” pointing out that fluoride is “neurotoxic and potentially tumorigenic if swallowed; [and that] the American Dental Association advises that children under 2 not use fluoride toothpaste.”

While San Diegans drink, play and scrub up in fluoridated water, it is to be noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved any fluoride product designed for ingestion as safe or effective and that no clinical trials have been conducted and submitted to the FDA to demonstrate the effectiveness of ingesting fluoride. If the FDA does not recognize the safety and effectiveness of fluoride supplements, how can we, as a community of athletes, infants, elders, medical patients (with special emphasis on kidney dialysis patients), and average citizens—all of whom consume various amounts of water in a myriad of ways—feel safe with fluoridated water?

The Fluoride Action Network reports that fluoride is a cumulative poison and that on average, only 50% of the fluoride we ingest each day is excreted through the kidneys. The remainder accumulates in our bones, pineal gland, and other tissues. If the kidney is damaged, fluoride accumulation will increase, and with it, the likelihood of harm.

For more information on the health impacts of fluoridated water, visit The Fluoride Action Network at www.fluoridealert.org and Citizens for Safe Drinking Water at www.nofluoride.com

Fluoride & Water Action Alert
We have the opportunity to let our views about fluoridation be taken into account. A public comment period regarding the toxicity of fluoridation is being held by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

The OEHHA encourages you to submit comments in electronic form, rather than in paper form. Comments transmitted by e-mail should be addressed to [email protected]. Comments submitted in paper form may be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to the address below:
Ms. Cynthia Oshita
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
P.O. Box 4010, MS-19B
Sacramento, California 95812-4010
Comments transmitted by fax should be sent to
(916) 323-8803.
OEHHA will organize and index the comments received and forward the information to the CIC members prior to the meeting at which the chemicals will be considered.

SIDE BAR: The fluoride used for water fluoridation does not have FDA approval and is considered by the FDA as an “unapproved drug.” The proper use of any drug requires an understanding of how much is too much. Since fluoride is already in many foods and beverages, an estimated total intake of existing fluoride amounts is imperative.

Reprinted with permission from Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market. www.obpeoplesfood.coop