The city of Asheville is putting a known neurotoxin in our water supply. The city of Asheville states on its website that our “pristine” water supply is fed by pure mountain streams protected from contaminants and pollution. The website even has a picture of a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and mountains.
If the water department markets clean, natural water, why do they add industrial-grade fluoride to our drinking water? Fluoride is a chemical derived from the phosphate fertilizer industry — not exactly pristine. Fluoride is the same kind of pollution that our water department claims it is working to protect us from.
Fluoride was recently listed in Lancet Neurology (a prestigious medical journal) as one of 12 known chemicals that “cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings.” Other neurotoxins on this short list include lead and mercury.
[In August], JAMA Pediatrics journal published an article with the following finding: “Fluoride exposure during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years.” According to this study, ingesting fluoride at the same levels that Asheville puts in our drinking water lowers IQ in children. Our children are actually dumber because the water department adds a neurotoxin to our drinking water. In total, 53 studies worldwide have linked fluoride ingestion to reduced IQ in children.
Andrew Young, civil rights activist, former confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. and former mayor of Atlanta, recently called for an end to water fluoridation, in part because the harmful effects of fluoride have been shown to disproportionately affect African Americans.
In 2011, a tanker truck carrying [hydrofluorosilicic acid] spilled onto a parking lot in Illinois. A hazardous waste crew wearing full hazmat suits and masks were required to clean the spill, which was quickly eating through the parking lot pavement. The fluoride truck was destined for the drinking water supply in Rock Island, Ill. Fluoride is a dangerous toxic chemical, not a food additive.
For these reasons and many, many more, 97% of Europe has already banned fluoride from its water supply.
The list goes on and on. The science is clear and consistent — every day we are drinking a known neurotoxin at levels that are scientifically shown to be harmful. Every day, Asheville’s beer is brewed with a known neurotoxin. Every day, our award-winning restaurants prepare food with a known neurotoxin.
The use of fluoride in drinking water in Asheville is an attempt to reduce tooth decay. If fluoride is meant to prevent tooth decay, why are we forced to swallow it? Can’t we just put it in our toothpaste? Or mouthwash?
If you want to use fluoride on your teeth, you have that right. But the city of Asheville has no right to force its residents to ingest and swallow a known neurotoxin that is on the same short list with lead and mercury for its neurotoxic effect on humans.
— Lakota Denton, attorney
Editor’s note: For more info about the JAMA study, see NPR’s Aug. 19 coverage (avl.mx/6nv). Xpress also contacted the city with the letter writer’s points and received the following response from spokesperson Polly McDaniel: “Asheville residents twice voted for fluoridation of the drinking water in the 1960s. The first time was May 1965. Thus, the city has to continue fluoridation until or unless there is a vote by referendum to stop it.
“‘I can’t speak to the comments regarding the studies as I have not read the scientific articles they refer to. I can state that in January 2011, the CDC lowered the recommended level for fluoride to 0.7 mg/l,’ said Asheville Water Production/Quality Manager Leslie Carreiro. ‘The city immediately made those changes prior to the EPA or State Public Water Supply making the same recommendation.’
“At city water treatment facilities, fluoride levels are checked manually by staff three times a day and the chemical feed system checks it 12 times a day.
“Also … [regarding the claim the city adds ‘industrial-grade fluoride’]: Product is ANSI/NSF-60 certified and is not industrial-grade. [And that the fluoride is ‘derived from the phosphate fertilizer industry’]: This product comes out of Western North Carolina. It is a coproduct of a quartz process. This product is not imported nor is made in conjunction with fertilizer.”