A Chattanooga-area water utility is putting fluoride in drinking water supplies even though it doesn’t know details of contamination levels of fluoride’s chemical ingredients.
The fluoride contaminant levels pass inspection, but David Collett, general manager of North West Utility District in Soddy-Daisy, is demanding details from a distributor in Fayetteville, Tenn.
By David Tulis / AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio
The matter of fluoride has gotten Mr. Collett’s attention as the district’s board members vote July 19 on getting rid of the controversial chemical, also called hydrofluorosilicic acid. The board is soliciting public comment at its website.
In response to an open records request, Mr. Collett provides test reports and a safety data sheet. The reports give some detail about noxious ingredients in fluoride, an industrial waste product, but not really enough to satisfy critics of fluoride.
Nor Mr. Collett.
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Uneasy about the legal liability fluoride brings to the district, he is demanding details from ADC, of Fayetteville, Tenn., the distributor.
“We are looking for what the requirements are for the chemical companies to provide us as it relates to the testing reports for fluoride. We currently receive annual reports — annual batch reports — that break down the materials used in fluoride and their pass and fail rate. What we’re looking for is if there are certain requirements they need to provide us more frequently than just an annual basis.”
Mr. Collett says he would like the details about mercury and other components, not just that the test batch “passes” on each ingredient. His interest in these questions is keen in light of fluoride’s use being entirely voluntary. No state or federal law requires NWUD to buy the acid and inject it into the water.
Force of habit more than anything else keeps fluoride in the water supply. That and the endorsement of dentists, who nobly tell the board that the mass medication program by water districts slashes their business as fillers of caveties.
‘Impurities’ added to water: Arsenic, chromium
The form provided ADC by NSF International, a testing company, declares that test samples of fluoride contain arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, lead, selenium, and thallium. These ingredients are reported from a yearly test sample and get a grade of “pass.” How close the batch at any point gets to “fail” is not revealed.
The reports admit fluoride is a form of sanctioned pollution. The test standard is the NSF/ANSI 60 test that “establishes minimum health effects requirements for the chemicals, the chemical contaminants, and the impurities that are directly added to drinking water from drinking water treatment chemicals.”
Mr. Collett says his board would like to know the details of just how much mercury is in the fluoride. At the Soddy-Daisy plant, about 80 pounds of fluoride goes into 2 million to 3 million gallons of water treated.
Mr. Collett provides me test reports for several years, from 2009 to 2015. These show that water impurities are below “maximum contamination level” and thus allowable. Exactly how extensively individual toxins are present is not revealed.
Handle with care
NWUD runs two water treatment plants overseen by operators who object to the health dangers the chemical imposes upon them. Darrell Burchard and Steve Roark in May told board members fluoride is a scary and dangerous part of their workplace routine. The men serve 7,500 customers in Soddy-Daisy, Falling Water, Mowbray Mountain and Sale Creek.
The parent company of the manufacturer is Unimin Corp. in New Canaan Conn. Unimin’s “safety data sheet” says that hydrofluorosilicic acid is harmful if swallowed, toxic in contact with skin, harmful if inhaled and also that it causes severe skin burns. It says that no one should breathe its mist, vapors or spray. One should not eat drink or smoke near it. It is to be used only outdoors and in a well-ventilated area. Workers are supposed to wear protective clothing, a protection and face protection, says an April 2014 data sheet Mr. Collett provided.
These facts about raw fluoride not appear to have a direct bearing on fluoride when ingested in tiny quantities dissolved in water down to the 0.7 parts per million, which is the target level for the district.
Learn more about effort to purify drinking water here
4 reasons to halt fluoride injections in Soddy-Daisy water
The case for compulsory fluoridation as water board weighs risks
Fluoride corrodes plant, worries Soddy-Daisy operator
Strong hint from research: Fluoride damages small children
YouTube brief: Fluoride eats away fixtures, pipes, Soddy-Daisy water plant storage rooms
Fluoride pits concrete, corrodes pipes at Sale Creek plant; operator sick
Critics rip fluoride as peril in Soddy-Daisy, dentists tell board it toughens teeth
Tulis urges Hamilton County utility board to halt fluoridation of water
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The fact that batches of fluorosilicic acid are certificated regarding levels of contaminants, and the fact that these contaminants are analysed does not suggest that there is an problem with or danger from these contaminants.
An objective comparison of sources of contaminants like arsenic, etc., in drinking water actually shows that contributions from water treatment chemicals like fluorosilicic acid are usually far lower than natural contributions from the water source itself.
I have made that comparison here – https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/chemophobic-scaremongering-much-ado-about-absolutely-nothing/
In most cases fluorosilicic acid contributes much less than 1 percent of these contaminants in drinking water.
The misleading misinformation in this article reflects the type shoddy research and willingness to disseminate inaccurate nonsense to the public, constantly exhibited by fluoridation opponents.
The reason nearly 75% of the U.S. is fluoridated is not because responsible decisionmakers are somehow unaware of the “information” put forth by fluoridation opponents, it is because these leaders understand the complete fallacies of the arguments against fluoridation. To correct the garbled claims of the author:
1. Hydrofluorosilic acid is not fluoride, it does not exist in fluoridated water at the tap, and it is not ingested.
Fluoride is the anion of the element fluorine. An anion is a negatively charged atom. As one such atom of fluorine is identical to all such others, the fluoride added through fluoridation is identical to that which has always existed in water. As groundwater flows over rocks, it picks up fluoride ions which have been leached from calcium fluoride and fluorosilicates in those rocks.
These fluoride ions are to what is commonly referred as being “naturally occurring” fluoride.
When hydrofluorosilic acid (HFA) is added to drinking water, due to the pH of that water (~7), the HFA immediately and completely hydrolyzes (dissociates). The products of this hydrolysis are fluoride ions, identical to those which have always existed in water, and trace contaminants in barely detectable amounts well below EPA-mandated maximum allowable levels of safety. After this point, HFA no longer exists in that water. It does not reach the tap. It is not ingested. It is therefore of no concern, whatsoever.
2. A Safety Data Sheet for raw, undiluted HFA, or any other raw, undiluted routine water additive, is irrelevant to consumers.
In regard to that water which is consumed and otherwise utilized, it makes no difference what is its content before it reaches the tap. All water at the tap must meet the rigid EPA mandated quality certification requirements under Standard 60 of NSF International. Standard 60 requires that no contaminant be present in water at the tap in excess of 10% of the EPA maximum allowable level (MCL) for each. Fluoridated water easily meets all Standard 60 certification requirements. A complete list of the contents of fluoridated water at the tap, including precise amounts of any detected contaminants, and the EPA maximum allowable level for each, may be found in the “Fact Sheet on Fluoridation Chemicals” on the website of NSF International:
In order to detect any contaminants at all in fluoridated water at the tap, 10 X the manufacturer’s recommended single use amount of HFA must be used. Even in this 10 X amount, contaminants are only detected in less than 50% of random samples taken, with the amount detected being so far below EPA mandated maximum allowable levels of safety that it is not even a certainty that those detected contaminants aren’t those which already exist in water naturally.
To answer Mr. Collett’s question about mercury, as can be readily noted on the NSF Fact Sheet, the EPA maximum allowable amount of mercury in drinking water at the tap is 2.0 parts per billion. In NSF testing of random samples of water utilizing 10 X the manufacturer’s single use amount of HFA. mercury is only detected in less than 1% of the random samples. In these less than 1% of samples, the maximum amount of mercury detected is only 0.04 parts per billion, only 2% of the EPA mandated maximum allowable amount.
3. It is not “force of habit” which keeps fluoride in the water supply. It is adherence to the peer-reviewed science, and the recommendations of those best qualified to render appropriate ones, which fully support this public health initiative, that keeps fluoride in the water supply. Countless peer-reviewed scientific studies, including those performed within the past year, clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoridation in the prevention of dental decay in entire populations. I will gladly cite as many of these studies as anyone would reasonably care to read.
Fluoridation is not dependent on the “endorsement of dentists.” This public health initiative is supported by those such as the past 6 U.S. Surgeons General, the Deans of the Harvard Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Public Health, the CDC, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, and over 150 of the most highly respected healthcare and healthcare-related organizations in the world.
In contrast, there is not one, single respected organization in the world which opposes fluoridation.
4. Water treatment personnel must work with numerous caustic, toxic chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia, HFA, and a host of others. This is the job for which they are educated, trained, and hired to do. Any such personnel who deem these undiluted substances to be “scary and dangerous part of their workplace routine” need to find work in another field, as they obviously have no confidence in their abilities to properly perform the water treatment functions for which they were hired to do. Competent water treatment personnel understand the precautions necessary to be taken when working with these undiluted substances, and take them.
Steven D. Slott, DDS
American Fluoridation Society