Letter: City shouldn’t force residents to drink fluoridated water

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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.”


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25 thoughts on “Letter: City shouldn’t force residents to drink fluoridated water

  1. Jas

    Nor should schools to force kids to pledge allegiance to a god or government… but good luck fighting that BS

  2. Bright

    Hitler ordered fluoridation in Germany…he and his cronies knew, at that time, fluoride’s effects at dumbing down people. The us govt took that fact and ran with it.

    • Enlightened Enigma

      wow, and with American government screwls it’s all going as planned …

        • Steve Slott

          Please provide valid substantiation for your claims in regard to Hitler and the US government. Your inevitable inability to do so will be clear demonstration that my characterization of your claim as being nonsense is a fact, not “name calling”.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS
          Burlington, NC

        • Steve Slott

          Roundup has no relevance to community water fluoridation.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • James Cassara

        Thank you. Nice to hear from an actual health care professional rather than the loonies who post this silliness.

        • Steve Slott

          B….b…. but, the silliness is so entertaining!

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

  3. Lakota Denton

    Is anyone else concerned that when presented with 53 studies linking fluoride to lower IQ in children and highlighting fluoride’s place alongside mercury and lead as the world’s worst neurotoxins, that the City’s response is: 1) We haven’t even read any of those studies, 2) Asheville voted for it 60 years ago (before any of these studies came out), and 3) Asheville’s fluoride is locally sourced…? Fluoride is not grass-fed beef. It does not go from being a known neurotoxin to safe to drink simply because it’s locally sourced.
    An acceptable response to my letter would be: “The City of Asheville’s top priority is the health and safety of our community – Our water department will immediately look into these studies, determine their validity, and make a decision on how to move forward.”
    For what it’s worth, for many years these studies have already been sent to The City of Asheville and the Water Department many times by many concerned citizens.

    • Steve Slott

      1. The US EPA has already evaluated these “53” studies” cited by antifluoridationists who have obviously not read, much less understood, any of them. A detailed explanation by EPA reviewers of the irrelevance, invalidity, and misrepresentation by fluoridation opponents of these “53 studies” may be found on the Federal Register of the US Government.

      2. There is no valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence of any neurotoxicity of fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Burlington, NC

  4. Robin

    Don’t you just love these ant-(insert your moral it’s the end-of-the-world causes here) letters?
    This is just like the vaccination claims. There are benefits and detriments to vaccination and to fluoride. In both instances, it has been determined that the benefits outweigh the detriments. Chlorine is far more deadly than fluorine, and much more of it is added to the City’s drinking water; yet the letter writer doesn’t mention it. Why? Because the benefits outweigh the detriments; that’s why? The letter writer faces far more toxins and other nefarious things every time they open a publicly used door.
    I also love that they include that a has-been politician agrees with the issue, and said politician knew Martin Luther King, so that means fluoride is evil.
    It’s also a tidy tidbit that 97% of Europe agrees with letter writer. Just a reminder that 97% of Europe thought Hitler was “good for Europe”; Time magazine even named him Man of the Year in 1938, but that doesn’t mean that either was good for the world. To paraphrase my mother, if 97% of the world jumped off a bridge, should I do it too?
    As I’ve stated in other responses on here before, if you like it so well elsewhere; good luck on your move there. I guess we’ll cling to our guns, bibles, and now fluoride.

  5. General Jack D. Ripper

    Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face. Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk… ice cream. Ice cream, children’s ice cream. You know when fluoridation first began? Nineteen hundred and forty-six. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.

    • indy499

      Your fellow nutty poster, humorously billing himself as Bright, said it was the Nazis. Try to coordinate your nonsense.

      • General Jack D. Ripper

        It’s a Commie plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids! That’s why I only drink grain alcohol and rainwater.

  6. Steve Slott

    The Mountain Xpress is commended for exercising due diligence in obtaining accurate information from the water department in response to the volume of half-truths, false claims and misinformation on water fluoridation provided by the author of this letter. The following are additional points revealing the dependence of the author upon misinformation gleaned from antifluoridationist websites and other such dubious sources.

    1. There is no valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence of any neurotoxicity of fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated.

    2. Fluoride is the anion of the naturally occurring element fluorine. An anion is a negatively charged atom. There is no such thing as an “industrial-grade” such atom. One fluoride ion is identical to all other fluoride ions. Basic chemistry.

    3. Nearly all water contains fluoride ions. Fluoridation simply adjusts the level of these existing ions to that concentration at which maximum disease prevention will be attained by those populations consuming this water, with no adverse effects upon anyone. There is no “pollution” involved in this process.

    4. The journal Lancet has not recently listed fluoride as a neurotoxin. In an article in that publication several years ago an author expressed his personal opinion that fluoride can be an environmental neurotoxin, with no specification as to concentration level at which he opined this might occur. He based his opinions solely on a 2012 study by himself and others which had been widely discredited in the scientific literature. A subsequent article in Lancet refuted the opinions of that author.

    5. The recent IQ study referenced (Green, et al.) is one by a core group of fluoridation opponents which has recently put out a spate of highly questionable agenda-driven studies with the apparent sole purpose of associating water fluoridation with disorders antifluoridationists have been unsuccessfully attempting to do so for decades. While all of these studies have been met with exposure of their serious flaws, from the respected scientific community, the amount of legitimate questions raised about the Green, et al. study are nearly unprecedented. With their overall initial finding of no difference in IQ between children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas, the Green authors performed dubious data mining of sub-groups in order to conclude a finding in accordance with their original goal, a tactic out of line within respected scientific study. It is rare when a desired conclusion cannot be found somewhere within subgroups of data when mined in such manner. Even within these subgroups, the only finding which met the authors’ aspiration was a weak correlation with negative IQ in boys, barely above the level of statistical significance. There was no such correlation found in girls.

    That JAMA inexplicably published this poor quality study does not lend credibility to the study, it damages that of JAMA. Due to the dubious nature of the findings of this study, repeated requests have been made by respected researchers for the original data used in the study such that it could be independently evaluated. To date, these requests have been met with nothing but resistance from the Green, et al. authors.

    6. The “53 studies” are a reference to a group of irrelevant, invalid, and misrepresented studies cited by fluoridation opponents as “evidence” of neurotoxicity. In its 40 page rejection of the most recent petition from antifluoridationists, EPA reviewers detailed the flaws of these “53” studies which rendered them of no value as valid evidence of anything.

    7. Years ago, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young succumbed to false claims and misinformation from antifluoridationists in stating his opposition to fluoridation. Unfortunately, Dr. Young failed to perform the due diligence necessary to determine the false nature of these claims prior to basing his personal opinion on them.

    All nine counties comprising Atlanta are fluoridated.

    8. If the lack of occurrence of accidental spills of raw, undiluted substances is the deciding factor on whether to use them then few substances could ever be used. Hazardous spills are reason to examine handling and transport methods, not reason to cease valuable public health initiatives.

    9. The reasons why different countries may not fluoridate their water are numerous… few, if any, related to concerns with effectiveness or safety of the initiative. These include such things as logistics of older water systems rendering fluoridation cost-prohibitive, use of fluoridated salt and/or milk programs in lieu of water fluoridation, existing fluoride levels in water already at, or above, the optimal level, and equal access to comprehensive dental care by all members of the population.

    10. Yes, the science is clear and consistent. In the entire 74 year history of water fluoridation, hundreds of millions having chronically ingested optimally fluoridated water during this time, there have been no proven adverse effects of the initiative, in spite of fluoridation having been the most tested public health program in history. For every claim of antifluoridationists with any semblance of rationality there are numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies clearly refuting them.

    11. No one is forced to swallow anything in regard to water fluoridation. People are entirely free to swallow fluoridated water, or not, entirely their choice.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS
    Burlington, NC

    • James Cassara

      So. I should listen to someone who went to dental school rather than the person who read fringe articles on Google? (That’s sarcasm, folks!)

      • Steve Slott

        Yes, exactly. What’s 4 years of dental school compared with the expertise obtained from 30 minutes “researching” an activist website…..

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

  7. Charles Haynie, M.D.

    Clearly fluoride can be .

    A natural mineral in drinking water
    A mineral nutrient
    A water additive
    An over the counter medication
    A prescription medication
    An industrial chemical
    An industrial pollutant
    A fumigant
    Used as a rat poison

    Each of these statements is true. There are important, critical distinctions between each use, each concentration, and the purity standards which define the various incarnations of “fluoride.” Different governmental bureaucracies have regulatory responsibility depending on the specific use.

    The willful refusal to acknowledge these clear and easily understood distinctions is an important element in fluoridation opponents misleading the general public. The water additive is strictly regulated for purity and physical quality by Standard 60 of the NSF. The propaganda name calling in this letter could not be more mistaken and misleading. Hopefully citizens will not be fooled..

    • Lakota Denton

      Looks like the American Fluoridation Society is trolling our message boards again. Steve, Charles, I will agree to stop writing these letters if you’ll agree to publish all of the sources of your funding. People should know who’s paying you to post messages…

      • Steven Slott


        Trolls are those who intentionally post false and misleading information on the internet. Obviously, that is a description of you, not the American Fluoridation Society. As antifluoridationists are masters of projecting their characteristics upon others, it would seem a credible assumption that you are the one being paid here.

        AFS is a non-profit organization. Therefore, its finances are a matter of public record. However, to simplify things for you, expenses of the AFS are covered primarily by a grant from the Delta Dental Foundation of California. If you are not aware, Delta Dental is a dental insurance company. As health insurance companies well understand the value of disease prevention to the health and well-being of their consumers, as well as to their own bottom line, you can be sure that they would not provide funding for a preventative initiative unless they were certain of its effectiveness and safety. That Delta Dental funds efforts of the AFS could not be any better demonstration of the confidence in effectiveness and safety of community water fluoridation, by those who extensively research and comprehend such initiatives. This insurance company well understands the amount of dental disease which is prevented with fluoridation, with no adverse effects upon anyone.

        Aside from Delta Dental, small amounts of funding for AFS expenses come from individual donations, self funding by AFS members, and the sale of fluoridation t-shirts.

        The expenses of AFS amount to travel, lodging, food, and supplies for members when we are asked for assistance from communities whose fluoridation program are under assault from antifluoridationists. No members of AFS are paid, nor would we accept payment, for our time, efforts, skills, knowledge, and expertise. We donate all of this free of charge as a service to our profession, and the residents of communities whose health we are protecting by pushing back against antifluoridationists seeking to impose their skewed personal ideology against fluoridation onto these residents.

        In regard to your letter writing, I couldn’t care less how many you write. Exposing the fallacies and dishonesty of claims in such antifluoridationist letters helps immensely in the effort to educate communities with facts and evidence about fluoridation. Given that all the same false claims and misinformation are sourced from the same antifluoridationist group and posted verbatim all over the internet constantly, it is easy to refute them each time they appear.

        That said, what I suggest you do is convince your antifluoridation source, the New York group, fluoride action network, to produce its finances. As its founder and leader, Paul Connett, keeps FAN finances cloaked under the umbrella of a non-profit group whose only function seems to be to provide that cover, the real question is what Connett, and by extension you and FAN’s other de facto representatives, are hiding. What is known, is that Connett and his wife each receive monthly stipends for their antifluoridationist activities, or in other words, are paid to keep this issue alive. In addition to this and whatever may be paid to FAN representatives such as you, the FAN lobbyist is paid, and it is likely that FAN staff members are paid, as well. It’s a nice little cottage industry for this group.

        Given your lack of understanding of fluoridation and your brazen hypocrisy in implying, without evidence, that fluoridation advocates are somehow paid, when in fact, it is your antifluoridationist leaders who are paid…….. you probably should do a much better job of properly educating yourself prior to further embarrassing yourself in this manner.

        Steven D. Slott, DDS
        Burlington, NC

          • Steve Slott

            Antifluoridationists and antivaxxers are two sides of the same coin, James, both being a menace to the health of the public. Unfortunately, Asheville has a small, yet noisy, faction of these activists intent on imposing their personal ideology onto the entire community, potentially depriving all residents of the disease prevention benefits of water fluoridation. Continual exposure of the false nature of their claims is the best method of protecting the public against the destructiveness of their ideology.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS
            Burlington, NC

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