Task Force Meeting Report... State Capitol
Dave Hansen attended at the Implementation of Water Fluoridation Task
Force meeting at the State Capitol yesterday afternoon and provided this info.
Below is his summary of the meeting.
I attended the statewide (except Davis and Salt Lake County fluoridation
implementation standards meeting today. Several other dedicated folks also
attended, and I thank them for taking the time to do so.
The standard task force meeting was chaired by Senator Poulton. He asked
excellent questions. One point made was that the current clean water testing
laboratories are already overwhelmed with the testing requirements for
current drinking water standards. It will need more funding to be able to
handle fluoridation testing as well. This brought up the continuous
monitoring of fluoridation levels, which also would add additional cost, and
would also need to be supplemented by laboratory testing to ensure safe
levels of fluoridation. Brigham City does not have continuous monitoring. It
uses the powdered sodium fluorsilicate, which apparently doesn't mix well
with the hard water and tends to clog up the feeder jets.
One of the speakers indicated that they planned on exempting wells from
fluoridation in which the wells serve 1000 or fewer people because it would
be cost prohibitive compared to the "benefit." Also, wells used less than 90
days a year would not be required to be fluoridated. Senator Poulton asked at
this point whether, given the voter mandate that all water is to be
fluoridated, the health board had the authority to NOT fluoridate wells
serving less than 1000 people. The speaker indicated they did, but lawyers
were more tentative about this.
Three lawyers spoke about the potential legal problems. "Potential liability"
was a big issue for them. Apparently the government already has immunity from
lawsuits brought on account of fluoridation because of "governmental immunity
for inherent government functions." But some private companies will also be
required to fluoridate and may get stung with lawsuits. Salt Lake County has
a handful of private water companies. Davis county has none. These private
companies want immunity from all lawsuits. One lawyer said that while they
were certain they would ultimately prevail in any lawsuit, lawsuits could
drain their finances because "lawyers aren't cheap".
Another legal problem the lawyers addressed very briefly had to do with
fact that this was an initiative process that effected this policy rather
than a legislative process. In Salt Lake County the initiative process was
used, whereas in Davis County the Health Board used Resolution Authority.
This was not explained further, but when it comes down to effecting our
lawsuit it may be worth looking into just what these concerns are. Craig
Anderson and Paul Ashly were two of the lawyers. Do any of you initiative
experts have any insight into this problem that we could use to our advantage?
Following the meeting, public comment was solicited. Five people ended
speaking. Two speakers are summarized below:
Thomas O. Breitling spoke of how we live in a "bowl" in this valley
mentioned that a recent newspaper article indicated that we already have
contamination in some of our acquafers. He said that fluoridation in such a
short time frame is a massive project and should perhaps be done more slowly
and with more thought. His main concern was that as we truck in millions of
pounds of this chemical it will build up in our "bowl." Great Salt Lake is
already 2.3 ppm fluoride, whereas the ocean is just over 1 ppm. Steve Poulton
asked after the meeting for some numbers on what this level could climb to in
Thomas Rodgers, an ex dairyman/rancher, spoke for those who cannot vote
speak, our pets, wild game and livestock. "When you medicate the water supply,
your pets and ranch animals get way more medication. Cows can drink as much
as 12 gallons of water per day. Fluoride is absorbed by animal tissue at very high
concentrations and is returned to you in the milk, meat and animal foods you eat.
There is a lot of livestock in our 'bowl' and this toxic waste won't escape. How
will you eliminate 'super-fluoridation' of livestock - or of your pets and the game"
He also reminded us that the Chlorine evaporates, and is carried out of (the Great
Salt Lake Basin) on the wind, but fluoride sticks around. He said that in other
states, water in rural areas that might be used by livestock is not permitted to be
fluoridated for these never publicly dicussed or undisclosed reasons.
David A. Hansen
Deseret News - Monday, July 16, 2001
Group asks city to keep fluoride out
By Elyse Hayes
Deseret News staff writer
WOODS CROSS â€î A group
of residents is asking city leaders to keep
fluoride out of the local water supplies either through adopting a city
ordinance or by holding a revote on the issue this fall.
Woods Cross was one of four Davis County cities in which residents
voted against the measure to fluoridate last November, though the measure
Tuesday night the group will present to the City Council a petition
signed by 503 residents, the council then having 30 days to either adopt the
proposed ordinance or reject it. Rejecting the ordinance or not taking any
action would automatically result in a citywide revote this fall.
"The saga continues," Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk said.
Just last month, Centerville faced the same scenario as residents
presented a petition with more than 1,000 signatures asking the city to go
The City Council rejected that petition and a Centerville vote is
slated for November, although the county may challenge the legality of the
vote and even try to stop it from happening through a court order.
Centerville assistant city manager Blaine Lutz said officials were planning
to meet with the Davis County Health Department Monday afternoon to discuss
possible legal action.
But unlike Centerville, where fluoride passed among residents by a slim
margin and where the city uses a fair amount of water from outside water
suppliers, Woods Cross residents voted the issue down 1,187 to 993. Besides,
Uresk says, the city's water system could function on its own.
"We're in a little bit different situation from Centerville," he said.
In Woods Cross, residents get about 91 percent of their water from city
wells and the other 9 percent from Weber Basin, which provides water for
residents throughout Davis County. The city could essentially turn off the
taps from Weber Basin and declare itself "functionally separate."
Davis County was able to hold a countywide vote on fluoridation because
it was believed no systems in the county were functionally separate.
According to state law, local health departments are given the duty of
fluoridating water except for those systems "that are functionally separate
from any other public water system in that county (or) where a majority of
the voters served by the public water system voted against the addition of
Uresk said the council will receive the petition and possibly have some
discussion at its Tuesday night meeting, but because two council members will
not be present at the meeting, action on the petition probably will be
postponed until a later date.
asks city to keep fluoride out
Implementation of Water Fluoridation Task Force Meeting
is today, Monday,
July 16th, at 3:00. This is the Task Force that was set up by the Utah
Legislature during its past session. Here is the agenda....
IMPLEMENTATION OF WATER FLUORIDATION TASK FORCE
Monday, July 16, 2001 - 3:00 p.m. - Room 403 State Capitol Building
1. 3:00 Call to Order and Introduction of Task Force Members
2. 3:05 Water Fluoridation
a. Implementation Issues; and
b. Recommendations for State Regulation
Blair Blonquist, Water Superintendent, Brigham City
3. Recommendations for State Regulation of Water Fluoridation
3:35 Brent Bradford, Deputy Director, Department of Environmental Quality;
and Kevin Brown, Executive Secretary, State Drinking Water Board
4:05 Dr. William Kidder, D.D.S., member, Salt Lake Valley Health Board
4:20 Attorney Working Group - Salt Lake County
4. 4:35 Committee Business
5. 4:45 Adjourn
Below are 2 letters to the editor in the Standard Examiner:
Standard Examiner - Monday, July 16, 2001
Toothbrush, not fluoride, for good dental health
Regarding the July 7 letter, Dental professional says "fluoride works' :Wow, how can this person claim to be a professional in the dental industry when the very people she has raised can't even teach her offspring to brush their teeth? Maybe she thinks that by wanting to medicate everyone, somehow her poor grandchildren will be spared from any more caries. I have news for her: You have to have some good sense and a desire for good dental health before you or those poor grandchildren won't have any more dental problems.
What about those poor homeless, and those poor people who don't know
what fluoride is? I guess they have never heard of toothbrushes or fluoridated
toothpaste. Come on, now, is that any reason to medicate me? I think not.
Just because you have a headache do you want to medicate me, your neighbor,
in my drinking water?
Standard Examiner - Monday, July 16, 2001
We should have fluoride; it was voted into law
I was recently talking to several of my friends who grew up outside of Utah and had fluoride in their drinking water. Two of them had absolutely no cavities their whole lives; one had only one small cavity. They think this controversy about fluoride in our drinking water is silly.
"I have never, in the 25 years that I lived in the other state, ever heard of anyone getting sick or dying from fluoride poison. The benefits far outweigh the silly controversy surrounding this issue," one said.
"Besides," said another, "you think the chlorine they put in water is any safer than fluoride? You hear of people who come in contact with chlorine gas and die from it; that is the same thing they put in our water, isn't it?"
I am still a little ignorant about it, but I voted for fluoride. I am wondering why we have not been able to get fluoride in our water after the majority voted it into law. If people don't want fluoride in their water, perhaps they could get a water-treatment system at their house that takes out the fluoride.
But for those of us (the majority) who voted for fluoride, it seems
unconstitutional that once something has been voted into law, someone else
should have the right to try the vote again because they think we were
misinformed. Maybe we should vote for a new governor or mayor because we
don't like the work they've been doing within the last few months.
Below are 2 items from the Davis County Clipper:
1. Letter to the editor
2. Article titled, "Centerville to revote on fluoride "
Letter to the editor: Davis County Clipper - Thursday, July 12, 2001
I am saddened at Kathy Behunin's criticism of Clearfield councilman Curt Oda's opposition to water fluoridation. Our Republic preserves Oda's moral right and bligation to legally pursue the defeat of this stillborn socialist policy. If a majority votes to march lockstep over a cliff, that doesn't remove community leaders' obligation to reverse popular missteps. It astonishes me how many cower behind the "will of the people" when it crushes the individual under its faceless boot.
Fluoridation opponents see through the condescending smoke screens; the slick and well-funded promotion to dump toxic waste into our drinking water. When citizens can examine the truth for themselves, it galvanizes them. The informed individual, thus immunized, stands unmoved against the epidemic of polished propaganda. Compassionate and caring citizens readily discern the fallacy that innocent children ought to drink hydrofluorosilicic acid -- industrial sludge according to Federal regulation 40 CFR 260.10 ("any ... liquid waste generated from .. an air pollution control facility").
Proponents side-step the embarrassing reality that unelected bureaucrats will raid our meager paychecks to subsidize smoke stack scrubbers owned by big phosphate corporations.
An honest study of fluoridation's sordid history, its source, and makeup will cause any reasoning person to see that the emperor of fluoridation has no clothes on.
Davis County Clipper - Thursday, July 12, 2001
Centerville to revote on fluoride
BY RENEE TURNER
CENTERVILLE -- In a seemingly pointless exercise,
fluoridation will be on the ballot again this fall in Centerville as a
result of a citizen-generated petition stating that Centerville should
separate itself from the county's (soon-to-be) fluoridated water supply.
Tuesday evening the city council discussed procedures for creating and distributing the voter information pamphlet on the question. The moment the petition was presented to the city, according to Assistant City Attorney Lisa Romney, the question was on its way back to voters.
Regardless of which of three options the city took in responding to the petition, to accept it, reject it, or do nothing, Romney said that law would require the issue to be returned to the voters. Romney also said that the outcome of this fall's vote will likely be challenged in the courts.
County officials, also, have said repeatedly that a municipal vote such as this will be entirely meaningless. When he addressed the council late last month, Lewis Garrett, the director of the Davis County Health Department, told city officials that state law is quite specific. It says that "the county shall fluoridate all public water systems within the county." So regardless of the results of this fall's vote, the county has said it will proceed with requiring all cities within the county to comply with the May 2002 deadline and have all the equipment up and running to fluoridate the water supply. Cities could face fines of up to $1,000 per day for every day that they are not in compliance with the county order.
The voter information pamphlet, according to council member, attorney, and mayoral candidate Ron Russell, can be written by any citizen interested in doing so. Russell said that preference should be given to petitioners in writing the information in favor of the measure. In this case, since the measure is designed to exempt Centerville from the county's fluoridation, the information in favor of the measure will be speaking against fluoridation.
The law says that members of the legislative body can write the information against the measure. For this question, that will be information in favor of fluoridation. However, every member of Centerville's City Council declined to draft the anti-measure information. They each said they preferred to remain neutral in the matter of fluoridation. It was decided that they would ask the county Health Department if it has a staff member who will draft the necessary voter information.
The council must decide upon the writer for the voter pamphlet 45 days prior to the election, and it must be available to the public for the 30 days prior to the election.
The city government, using taxpayer money, will foot the bill for preparing the pamphlet, as well as all the expenses associated with the vote. According to Romney, there will also likely be court costs when the vote is challenged. The city hopes to get help from the county if, and when, that time comes.
Standard Examiner - Thursday, July 12, 2001
Fluoride still a hot issue in Davis
In Centerville, council seeks outside writer for voter pamphlet
By BRYON SAXTON
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau
CENTERVILLE -- The fluoridation fight in Centerville is so political, not even the local politicians want to attach their written opinion to it.
That's why the City Council has decided it will have someone else write the pro-fluoridation statement for the voter-information pamphlet to be mailed to residents.
"There didn't seem to be anybody on the governing body that wanted to (write) that," Blaine Lutz, assistant city manager, said.
Lutz said council members are trying to remain neutral on the fluoridation issue, and writing something for the pamphlet could put them in an "awkward position." He said the city will contact a qualified candidate to write the pro-fluoridation statement, likely someone associated with the Davis Board of Health.
Voters will receive the pamphlet about 30 days before the Nov. 6 municipal revote on the countywide referendum that was narrowly approved by voters last year.The revote is in response to longtime resident Richard G. Brown submitting a 1,100-signature initiative petition asking the council to exempt Centerville from the requirement to add fluoride to the city's drinking water. Brown maintains the requirement is a violation of personal rights.
Because the council rejected that request, based on state code, the issue will again go before the voters, requiring the city produce and mail a voter-information pamphlet out.
The council, however, did side with City Attorney Lisa Romney on the ballot title she prepared for the Nov. 6 revote. Brown had challenged the wording of the ballot title, claiming it was confusing.
Brown said with the wording in the ballot title a "no" vote will be a vote against the initiative, rather than against the effort to fluoridate the county's drinking water system.
Lutz said state law leaves it up to the city attorney to determine the wording on the ballot title.
"We'll live with the ballot title," Brown said. Instead, he said he will clarify the issue through a statement in the voter-information pamphlet.
"I think that is all that is open to us now," he said.
There is also the possibility the revote could be legally challenged by county health officials, who have said a citywide revote cannot overturn a countywide referendum.
The council is expected to discuss that issue July 17.
While the local fluoridation saga continues, Centerville officials are trying to meet the May 2002 deadline set by health officials to have fluoridation implemented.
Lutz said the city needs to make additions to three pump house well sites for fluoridation equipment.
"Fortunately, right now the schedule is engineering work. It (the petition) hasn't interfered yet. But the next few weeks it will begin to push against that time line as construction of the pump houses needs to begin in the fall," he said.
By Elizabeth White
Deseret News staff writer
made by the Centerville City Council over a city revote on water fluoridation
may end up meaningless.
The City Council Tuesday night addressed both ballot wording and a voter information pamphlet regarding a Nov. 6 citywide revote that has the potential to exempt the city from a Davis County vote last November that approved water fluoridation.
However, questions have been raised regarding the legal and practical ramifications if city residents vote against fluoridating the water.
Lewis Garrett, director of the Davis County Health Department, said a city revote is simply an opinion vote, and is not binding. He added that because about one-third of Centerville's water comes from outside city limits, it would be impossible to keep fluoridated water out of city pipes.
"There is nothing in the law that will allow them to exempt themselves," he said. "We're going to move forward."
The City Council, too, is moving forward. Because it rejected Richard Brown's petition, which included about 1,100 signatures from city residents, to overturn last November's vote, it is legally bound to send the petition to the city for a vote.
At Tuesday's meeting, the council discussed options for the voter education pamphlet, which it is required to send out before the Nov. 6 vote. The pamphlet must include two 500-word statements, one in support and one in opposition to fluoridation. They must be written 30 days before the vote.
"All we're doing tonight is giving direction," said Steve Thacker, Centerville city manager.
Brown has legal preference in writing the opposition statement, but "the other question that may be not so easy is who's going to write the statement on the other side?" Thacker asked.
The City Council has preference, but council member Brian Gold said, "As far as I'm concerned, go out and shake the bushes" for an author.
The council decided it will put a call in to the Davis County Board of Health in search of a support statement author, either from the board or from the community.
Garrett said he would be willing to have the board or department write the statement, but that it is irrelevant because the revote is "basically meaningless."
The City Council also decided Tuesday to keeps its hands out of questions regarding the wording of November's ballot.
Brown contends the ballot, as it is worded now, is confusing so that a vote against the initiative will be equivalent to voting for fluoridation and vice versa.
"I propose that we reword that ballot . . . so there's no confusion," he said.
Council member Ron Russell said it is up to the city attorney, not the council, to decide what the ballot will say.
"I don't view it as our proper role," he said.
"I think that's what the voter information pamphlet is for," added council member David Gill.
Assistant City Attorney Lisa Romney said she thinks the wording is clear, and that the petition's sponsors have the option of going to the Utah Supreme Court to appeal. She said it is important for the ballot title to include the fact the city would be exempting itself from the countywide vote, not just whether or not the city should fluoridate its water.
"Otherwise, it doesn't get to the substance of what they're trying to do," she said.
Gerald Hess, chief civil deputy of the Davis County Attorney's Office, said the ballot initiative of last fall was definitive.
"It was not a 'may' " he said. "It was a 'shall.' "
Hess said the county is "in uncharted waters" and that it has a couple of alternatives. It could let the vote go through and deal with the situation then if the city votes to exempt itself, or it could seek a declaratory judgment now.
Garrett said the department is required to fluoridate the water by May 2002 and that citizens seeking to overturn last year's decision should dedicate their efforts to a petition for a countywide revote in November 2002.
Richard Brown, who sponsored the city petition and gathered about 1,100 signatures from city residents, said that is ridiculous, because the water will be fluoridated by then.
"Fluoridation is one of those steps in doing away with our liberties," he said. "This is how the tyranny of the majority starts; it appears we've got to fight evil with evil and put it back on the ballot."
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Centerville fluoride vote moot?
Fluoride info to go in mail in Centerville
Controversy surrounds pamphlet
By BRYON SAXTON
CENTERVILLE -- For the second time in a year, Centerville residents will receive a voter information pamphlet in the mail about fluoridation.
And for the second time, there could be controversy surrounding the mailer.
City Manager Steve Thacker said the city is required by law to prepare the pamphlet for the Nov. 6 citywide revote on the countywide drinking water fluoridation referendum voters approved Nov. 7, 2000.
By a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, voters approved adding one part fluoride per million to Davis County's drinking water for tooth decay prevention.
That vote, however, is being challenged by a group led by longtime Centerville resident Richard G. Brown. Brown has organized an initiative petition with 1,100 signatures requesting the city exempt itself from the referendum to protect the personal freedoms of its residents.
The issue, recently rejected by the Centerville City Council, will now be decided by voters in the Nov. 6 municipal election. State code says that if the council either rejects or fails to take any action on a valid petition, the petition is to go before the voters.
Had the council adopted the petition and created an ordinance exempting the city from the countywide vote, it would have run contrary to how its voters cast ballots approving the measure by 43 votes and possibly resulted in legal costs to the city to defend the action.
Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said despite the initiative, a citywide revote cannot overturn a countywide referendum. Health officials continue to hold to a May 2002 deadline for each city to have the fluoridation measure carried out.
Complicating matters in what is already a complicated issue, Brown is now objecting to the ballot title prepared by Centerville City Attorney Lisa Romney, saying it is confusing. Because of the way it is worded, a "no" vote would kill the initiative, not the measure to add fluoridation to the water, Brown said.
Brown is suggesting a different ballot title in which a "no" vote would result in a vote against fluoridation.
"We're going to have another Florida fiasco," Brown said, referring to the confusion in the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore with the use of the famed "butterfly ballot.
"The council will review Brown's suggested ballot title at its meeting at 7 tonight at Centerville City Hall, 250 N. Main St.
A similar controversy brewed last fall, when health officials objected to a voter information pamphlet prepared by the County Clerk's Office, claiming it contained "inaccurate" information provided by opponents about the cost of implementing fluoridation.
County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said the information the pamphlet contained was provided by proponents and opponents of the fluoridation referendum.
Thacker said the voter information pamphlet, to cost about $1,500 to publish and mail to about 4,500 homes, must be received by residents 30 days before the Nov. 6 vote.
State law requires the pamphlet contain a statement of 500 words or less from Brown, and an opposing statement from the City Council collectively or a council member.
"If they choose not to do that, the council must decide who is going to write it," Thacker said.
You can reach reporter Bryon Saxton at 776-4951 or email@example.com.
Standard Examiner - 7/7/01
Standard Examiner - Saturday, July 7, 2001
Dental professional says, 'Fluoride works!'
I have worked in the dental field for 40 years. I have seen thousands of mouths and, let me tell you, even in 2001 there are many people who are still dentally uneducated.
My son was born and grew up with fluoride. He has beautiful teeth. He has never had a cavity. I was not so lucky. My grandchildren are not so lucky growing up here. At ages 3 and 4, they already have fillings.
We are getting more and more people from other countries. Try explaining what fluoride is when they can't even speak English. They can't afford to go to the dentists. There are a lot of homeless in Utah. I'm sure fluoride tablets are not on their shopping lists.
Our young men and women are getting married and starting their families. Both of them have to work to exist. This is the time they need the fluoride, while the babies' teeth are forming.
The dentist I worked for in Wyoming said he could
take any 10 students from the university, examine them, and tell you which
ones had had fluoride. It does work! You want to do something for your
community? Put fluoride in the water.
Karen B. Waldron
Letters to Editors...submitted to Standard Examiner and Davis County Clipper.
July 6 2001
Standard Examiner - Friday, July 6, 2001
Fluoride 'contamination' drive led by money
Fluoride is a known and listed inorganic contaminant. Water suppliers are required to monitor for that and other poisons. As we are now being told by those who "supposedly know" that we must add fluoride to water in Davis County. Layton's Annual Drinking Water Quality Report apparently says that city water is woefully substandard.
Interestingly, fluoride is the only contaminant that Layton's report lists as beneficial. Our water has only 0.216 parts per million fluoride. The standard contaminant level is 4.0 parts per million. If indeed fluoride has been found to be beneficial, it logically follows that with proper efforts, enough politics and money, various other listed contaminants eventually will be found beneficial for us all.
I say, before we waste any more time and effort, let's immediately start adding fluoride, barium, lead, nitrate sulfate and lots of other "beneficial" contaminants to our water so we can get up to acceptable levels. If we start adding them now we will immediately begin to benefit from the good that can be derived from these known poisons. None of these contaminants now come anywhere close to their acceptable levels. Surely it would be good to begin benefiting from all of those poisons even before their real benefits are politically recognized.
Wouldn't there be a great hue and cry if anyone wanted to add just a tiny bit of arsenic and asbestos to our water supply? Like fluoride, both of those poisons are now substantially below acceptable levels.
Why does fluoride, of all its sister poisons, get singled out to be added to our water supply? Follow the money to the answer!
We are being lied to and someone will reap a tidy profit from this mass fluoridation. Maybe it's time to wake up and smell the contaminants.
Blaine W. Nichols
Standard Examiner - Friday, July 6, 2001
Fluoride opposition's rights not considered
As an educated, responsible citizen, I resent the implications that those who oppose fluoride are kooky, conspiracy theorists. I have never witnessed a purer water activist suggest communist conspiracy in connection with fluoridation. In fact, I've heard that Communist China is researching how to remove fluoride from their water, so apparently even communists wouldn't put up with this. The controversy on water fluoridation has brought up many unsettling and frightening issues, not the least of which is what passes for hot news and journalism these days.
In reference to the June 17 article, "Fluoride debate far from over in Davis," I want to state that I've never seen the movie "Dr. Strangelove," and thought it was some James Bond movie until someone set me straight. I can only assume that reference to this movie is an insulting tag line created by the fluoridation pushers and falsely assigned to people who dare to question what is being done by the government.
If conjecture from guest psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Barrett is relevant to the fluoridation debate, perhaps he could comment on why it so difficult to get our leaders to commit to an economical, pharmaceutical grade fluoride tablet approved for human consumption. Or maybe he could explain why our leaders avoid answering questions about true costs and safety prior to railroading a taxpayer financed advertising campaign and vote. Or maybe he could suggest that leaders endorse and fund distribution methods that logically reflect rights and preferences on an individual basis.
The entire state could be given free pharmaceutical-grade tablets for the amount of taxpayer dollars that have been spent to insult and silence those who claim the right to choose medicine for themselves.
Elizabeth S. Sweeten
Davis County Clipper - Thursday, July 5, 2001
The inaccuracies in Kathy Behunin's letter to the editor were most amusing.
Her claim that the county officials are "using their positions as elected officials to impose their own anti-fluoridation views" is preposterous; after all, two of the commissioners voted to put fluoridation on the ballot, and commissioner Michael Cragun publicly stated during the convention that he would support the will of the voters on the fluoridation issue.
Steve Rawlings, county election clerk, could not have been more fair to both sides, even down to allowing Beth Beck to draw for the first position on the voter information pamphlet. These officials have not varied from this course. Fluoridation can only be stopped by a voter initiative/petition or a lawsuit.
Accusing Rawlings of "cheering and waving" at anti-fluoridation meetings is absurd. The only meeting Rawlings attended was a public debate, to which we invited opponents, all interested citizens (including county clerks), and proponents, who inexplicably chose not to debate (even though they presumably possess "mountains" of evidence regarding fluoridation's "safety and effectiveness"). When citizens and the county clerk politely applauded Dr. Paul Connett after he was introduced, should that be interpreted as bias?
Regarding the accusation that Rawlings published "exaggerated" costs, Rawlings, with the approval of the county commission, published both the Board of Health's estimate of $2 per person per year and the four cities' estimates of $12 to $31 per hookup per year.
Centerville's most recent estimate has now climbed to $36. By the board's estimate, an average family of five should only pay $10 per year, but in Centerville that family will actually be paying a whopping 360 percent more than the board's estimate. A family of two will pay 900 percent more.
Somehow, by the definition of this word I learned in school, that does not seem exaggerated.
David A. Hansen, Kaysville
Natural Resource Defense Council:
The Natural Resource Defense Council, with "friend
of the court" amicus briefs" by several U.S. Senators, filed suit against
the EPA for not putting in place a new arsenic standard by June 22, 2001
as legally required. The NRDC news release on the filing and background
material can be accessed at:
hyperlink: NRDC Press Archive
Washington Post Article:
Debate Swells Over Arsenic in Water Supply
Administrations Differ, Residents Worry About Levels
By Anita Huslin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 5, 2001; Page B01 When Clare Whitbeck discovered that the water piped into her Southern Maryland home was laced with arsenic, the question of how much of the cancer-causing element is safe to drink spiraled down from the lofty halls of Congress straight into her kitchen sink.
Suddenly, the national debate was no longer academic. That's because the arsenic in Whitbeck's water on several occasions in recent years has exceeded the new maximum level of 10 parts per billion set by the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration, records show.
So has the drinking water provided by about one-fourth of all public water utilities in Maryland and at least 10 suppliers in Virginia, state health department records show, putting tens of thousands of people in both states in the same position as Whitbeck, though few are aware.
Whitbeck says she is unsettled by a Bush administration decision to put the new arsenic limit, whichwas to take effect in March, on hold while it reviews whether the science and the costs justify reducing the former standard of 50 parts per billion, set in 1942.
"The question is, how much of this garbage are you willing to tolerate? With the current administration, it seems the philosophy is, 'We don't know how much of this stuff is dangerous, so we're going to let it go,' " said Whitbeck, who lives in a St. Mary's County subdivision where some of the highest levels -- up to 20 parts per billion -- of arsenic in public drinking water supplies in Maryland have been measured.
As concern about the dangers of arsenic has grown over the past two decades, so has debate over whether the U.S. drinking water limit for the chemical element is adequate to protect the public.
Republicans and industry groups that oppose the new standard questioned the conclusions of studies to date on the issue, since the vast majority focus on problem areas outside the United States. In such places as Taiwan, Chile and Bangladesh, where arsenic has been proven to cause cancer, residents have been exposed to much higher levels of the metal in their water than are generally found in the United States, and often live in communities where people tend to be less mobile than they are here.
Even so, environmental and public health groups note that nearly 40 years have passed since the EPA's predecessor agency proposed tightening the standard to 10. And, countering the Bush administration's characterization of the new arsenic limit as a hastily reached standard, they noted that the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has reviewed the science and issued a half-dozen reports on the subject in the past 30 years.
In its 1999 report, which led to the Clinton administration's rule, the council found that arsenic in drinking water can cause bladder, lung and skin cancer and also may cause kidney and liver cancer. The report also cited evidence that it harms the nervous system, heart and blood vessels, can trigger serious skin problems, and may also cause birth defects and reproductive problems.
The World Health Organization and European Union for years have identified 10 parts per billion as the so-called "action level" that should trigger steps to reduce arsenic in drinking water. But though the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act called for a review of the U.S. standard, it was only in the final days of the Clinton administration this year that the United States moved to catch up.
Even then, the new limit of 10 that the EPA chose was a compromise, after cost-benefit analyses showed that a limit of 5 micrograms of arsenic could mean millions of dollars more in costs, without any certainty that it would produce a markedly lower cancer risk.
EPA officials cited the 1999 report that estimated the cancer mortality rate among individuals who drank water containing 50 parts per billion as 1 in 100.
That's about the same cancer risk a person would face living with a smoker -- and a higher risk factor than the EPA has ever allowed for all of the other substances it regulates in drinking water.
"Many of the cancer-causing substances in water are regulated down to risk levels of 1 in 100,000," said Dr. Allan H. Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley, who said the health risks associated with the 50-parts-per-billion standard "makes Superfund sites look like they don't matter at all.
" Even with a contaminant threshold of 5 parts per billion, argued Smith, who served on the National Research Council's arsenic review panel for Clinton, "people want to think if they drink water it'll be safe, and I don't think anybody would say that if it could kill 1 in 1,000 people, it's safe.
"A cost analysis was a major factor in the Bush administration's decision to put the 10-parts-per-billion limit on hold. Because larger water systems can more readily solve the arsenic problem by simply diluting the water with other sources, the issue disproportionately affects smaller systems that may have only one well.
For that reason, the costs would be especially burdensome for customers of those smaller suppliers, which would simply pass along the expense of fixing the problem. According to the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, the cost of the new standard of 10 parts per billion could run up to $1 billion, adding as much as $500 over several years to a homeowner's water bill in some cases, though the EPA estimated the cost as being $60 or less per household.
Nevertheless, with the financial stakes so high, and the debate very much alive about the health impacts of arsenic, small municipal suppliers have anxiously watched the turn of events under the Bush administration.
"We've been trying to come up with a battle plan of how to deal with this for the past 18 months," said Tom Russell, assistant director of the St. Mary's Metropolitan Commission, which operates 54 wells that provide water to nearly 10,000 customers -- including five wells that would need new treatment systems to meet the new standard. "Frankly, we have been wondering where the money would come from."
This month, a new panel of National Research Council experts convened by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman will review all the scientific evidence on the health impacts of arsenic. A second group, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, will look at the cost estimates associated with reducing the arsenic standard. And a third group will evaluate the health benefits of lowering the level.
All three groups are expected to finish their work and make recommendations this fall on what the safe limit for arsenic should be. The EPA will make its final decision on the standard early next year.
Critics of the administration's decision fear that Whitman's move to block the new limit will ultimately lead to higher levels of arsenic in drinking water sources.
"Basically the law says you can't weaken the standard, and they're going to try to argue they can, based on the fact that it would not have become effective yet," said Erik Olson, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Last week, the environmental group sued the EPA for rescinding the standard and ignoring a June 22 deadline set by Congress to create a plan to reduce arsenic levels.
Until the final standard is set, however, public health and water utility officials in many instances have taken a wait-and-see attitude about the potential impacts.
Robert Taylor, who oversees arsenic testing and compliance for the Virginia Department of Public Health, said he believed that industry groups from the western states, where arsenic is a much greater problem because of mining, ultimately would persuade the new White House leadership to halt the new standard because of its economic impacts.
"Obviously, if it's your system and it's going to double your water bill, it's a big deal," Taylor said."The problem that the bureaucracies have, especially EPA, is the people who work there on arsenic can get a bad case of tunnel vision with respect to the relativity of the risk. . . . From a statewide perspective, arsenic was not a major issue for Virginia, except for a few very small systems.
"This month, scientists at the Maryland Geologic Survey will begin a two-year study of arsenic in groundwater supplies to help establish the location and causes of any problems. Although water suppliers are required to notify customers only if contaminants exceed the current standards, some, like Southern Maryland's MetCom, have met with county commissioners and citizens' groups to keep them apprised of the situation.
Whitbeck, who attended one of these meetings, said she is still waiting to hear an unambiguous assessment of the dangers of arsenic in drinking water.
"I want someone who understands the science not to interpret it as a Republican or a Democrat but to interpret it as the truth," Whitbeck said. "The Republicans don't want anything that would interfere with business and growth, and the Democrats don't want anything that would cause damage to human beings. And the truth about arsenic, I think, lies somewhere in between."
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
Swells Over Arsenic in Water Supply (washingtonpost.com)
Straight answers needed for shabby treatment of board:
I voted for you last November, and I have just finished reading the article you wrote for the current issue of the Davis County Clipper. I note the last sentence of that article: ìthe people of Davis County may take comfort knowing that their county elected officials, adminstrative officers, and employees acknowledge and respect our laws and constitutions.î
I assume that is intended to also mean that you all are committed to acting in the public interest and with due respect to the expressions of voters at the polls ñ all of which is laudable, and no one can fault the sentiment. I also assume that there is an implicit measure of ìgood-faithî associated with your sentiments.
However, I am deeply troubled by the Commissionís recent decision to sack the members of the Board of Health and suddenly ìre-organizeî that entity. I find little comfort to be taken from that action, and I am most curious to know why the board was ñ very cavalierlyñgiven the boot. If commissioners truly respect ìthe laws,î why is so little regard shown for the law enacted by the voters last fall requiring fluoridation?
Why the rush to publicly (and I use this word carefully) humiliate the board members by dumping them without explanation right in the middle of the fluoridation implementation process? How does that kind of shabby treatment (to read of oneís non-selection for re-appointment in the press) encourage other citizens to volunteer their time and talent to serve in such (generally thankless) capacities?
What were the selection criteria for the newly appointed board members? Were they screened for the fluoridation position favored by the commission? Was this intended to signal, with a wink and a nod, to opponents of fluoridation that the commission will see to it that the law, as passed, is never implemented? Was it some sort of punishment for board members having publicly countered a deceitful campaign of misinformation last fall?
Indeed, if the board members were doing a good job, why replace them? Why not have grandfathered them for the remainder of their terms? As a mere voter and taxpayer, Iím really curious to know why I should feel comfort with this seemingly odd decision.
I would genuinely appreciate a straight answer ñ and I have no doubt that a public servant who is, in fact, guided by the principles you avowed in your article would give me one.
David R. Irvine,
Clipper Today, June 28, 2001 Letter to the Editor:
I am curious as to why Steve Rawlings, Curt Oda and Michael Cragun are using their positions as elected officials to impose their own anti-fluoridation views and may possibly go so far as to rescind the voter-approved mandate to fluoridate Davis County water.
When I saw Steve Rawlings, county elections clerk,
cheering and waving, at anti-fluoride meetings last year, it made me wonder
if he could honestly run a fair election. He later published a Davis County
Election Guide with exaggerated
Curt Oda, a Clearfield City Council member has recently attempted to thwart the fluoridation mandate that Clearfield citizens as well as Davis County residents have given him...
Now Michael Cragun has led the charge to re-organize the Board of Health during this critical phase of fluoride implementation. I wonder what he and the other two are doing behind the scenes to reverse the votersí decision to fluoridate.
As a Republican County Delegate I am beginning to re-think my support of Michael Cragun and others who sneak around and try to stop or stall the process with an ìI know betterî attitude.
Kathy Behunin, West Bountiful
Letter written by David Hansen & James Knowles and submitted to Clipper.
I am saddened at Kathy Behunin's criticism of
Clearfield councilman Curt Oda's opposition to water fluoridation. Our
Republic preserves Oda's moral right and obligation to legally pursue the
defeat of this stillborn socialist policy. If a
majority votes to march lockstep over a cliff, that doesn't remove community leaders'
obligation to reverse popular missteps. It astonishes me how many cower behind the "will of the people" when it crushes the individual under its faceless boot.
Fluoridation opponents see through the condescending
smoke screens; the slick and well-funded promotion to dump toxic waste
into our drinking water. When citizens can examine the truth for themselves,
it galvanizes them. The informed individual, thus immunized, stands unmoved
against the epidemic of polished propaganda. Compassionate and caring citizens
readily discern the fallacy that innocent children ought to drink hydrofluorosilicic
acid -- industrial sludge according to Federal regulation 40 CFR 260.10
("any ... liquid waste generated from .. an air pollution control facility").
Proponents side-step the embarrassing reality that unelected bureaucrats will raid our meager paychecks to subsidize smoke stack scrubbers owned by big phosphate corporations.
An honest study of fluoridation's sordid history, its source, and makeup will cause any reasoning person to see that the emperor of fluoridation has no clothes on.
Letter written by David A. Hansen regarding same letter as above
The inaccuracies in Kathy Behuninís letter
to the editor were most amusing. Her claim that the county officials are
ìusing their positions as elected officials to impose their own
anti-fluoridation viewsî is proposterous; after all, two of the
commissioners voted to put fluoridation on the ballot, and commissioner Michael Cragun publicly stated during the convention that he would support the will of the voters on the fluoridation issue. Steve Rawlings, county election clerk, could not have been more fair to both sides, even down to allowing Beth Beck to draw for the first position on the voter information pamphlet. These officials have not varied from this course. Fluoridation can only be stopped by a voter initiative/petition or a lawsuit.
Accusing Rawlings of ìcheering and wavingî
at anti-fluoridation meetings is absurd. The only meeting Rawlings attended
was a public debate, to which we invited opponents, all interested citizens
(including county clerks), and proponents, who
inexplicably chose not to debate (even though they presumably possess ìmountainsî of evidence regarding fluoridationís ìsafety and effectivenessî). When citizens and the county clerk politely applauded Dr. Paul Connett after he was introduced, should that be interpreted as bias?
Regarding the accusation that Rawlings published ìexaggeratedî costs, Rawlings, with the approval of the county commission, published both the boardís estimate of $2 per person per year and the four citiesí estimates of $12 to $31 per hookup per year. Centervilleís most recent estimate has now climbed to $36. By the Boardís estimate, an average family of five should only pay $10 per year, but in Centerville that family will actually be paying a whopping 360% more than the boardís estimate. A family of two will pay 900% more.
Somehow, by the definition of this word I learned in school, that does not seem exaggerated.
Utah kids cope with dental pain
State, Top of Utah, rank high in dental caries
Wed, June 27, 2001 00:00:00
By CATHY McKITRICK
SALT LAKE CITY -- A growing number of Utah's children have learned to cope with persistent pain as a regular part of life because they don't get routine dental care.
Utah ranks above average in numbers of children with dental caries, with 65 percent of 6- to 8-year-olds having a decayed or filled tooth compared to the national average of 52 percent. In the Weber-Morgan area, the figure rises to 71 percent.
Utah's dental health officials say it's a problem of access, concentrated mainly in Utah's inner cities and rural areas.
"These higher numbers are indicative of what's happening with low-income, uninsured children," said Susan Aldous, dental access consultant with the state Department of Health.
Dr. Stephen Steed, dental director for the department, said that infection from dental caries raises concerns about long-term impact on children's quality of life.
"The infection lessens their ability to fight off other diseases and spills over into other areas of their lives, making it harder to learn and adjust socially," Steed said.
Although some low-income families qualify for the federally-funded Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid, Aldous said that Utah has few Medicaid dental clinics and some families hesitate to sign up for CHIP for various reasons.
So private dentists in Utah bear the burden of treating Medicaid patients, but due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates they can only afford to handle a limited number, Steed said.
Wayne Cottam, dental director for Utah's community health centers, said that Utah's Medicaid reimbursement rates rank in the bottom 10 percent compared to other states.
"Our dentists actually end up paying Medicaid patients to come see them because their overhead exceeds the amount they're reimbursed," Cottam said.
Cottam now administers three community dental clinics in Salt Lake City, Rose Park and Taylorsville, which is a step up from the single clinic in operation in 1997.
"We treat all comers on a sliding fee scale that ranges between $25 and $35," Cottam said.
But even with three clinics in operation, Cottam said they're still forced to turn away 10 to 15 patients each day because there's not enough time or staff to treat them.
Kathy Baebler, oral health coordinator for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, said they've implemented a new Sealant Saturday program to provide teeth cleaning and sealants for at-risk children who have been prescreened through the state's Smile Factory program.
At the Sealant Saturday held in South Kearns in May, 62 children were treated and 169 teeth were sealed.
"We provided over $10,000 worth of free dental services that morning," Baebler said.
Baebler also has a fluoride varnish project in the works for children between nine and 36 months. Applied easily with a cotton swab, the varnish can reduce decay by 40 to 70 percent, Baebler said.
Many county and state dental health officials also endorse water fluoridation as a big key towards improving children's dental health in Utah.
"We've reached the point that we think we'll see more communities opt for fluoridated water. It would have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people," Aldous said.
Steed said they plan to provide information to locations considering the fluoride vote and implementation.
"We feel there's good evidence that it's safe and effective in reducing dental caries," Steed said.
Steed said he hopes the Utah Legislature will decide to increase Medicaid funding for oral health and direct patient care.
"But so many in government don't see the need. They're able to get their families to the dentist regularly and they don't realize that some don't have that same access. It would help if they could see these projects in action firsthand," Steed said.
You can reach reporter Cathy McKitrick at 625-4252
Davis County Clipper, June 28, 2001:
Commission: "We'll uphold the public vote"
Editor's note: We have elected to include the Davis County Commission in our ongoing series of "Capital Reports" interviews with key state and federal leaders. This is the first of several articles that will be published from the wide range of topics discussed with commissioners this week.
By Tom Busselberg, Clipper News Editor
Farmington--The three Davis County Commissioners strongly defended the recent reorganization of the county's Board of Health, insisting the virtual cleaning out of prior members was in no way part of an agenda to derail fluoridation.
Speaking in an interview with the Davis County Clipper, Commission Chairman Dannie McConkie and commissioners Carol Page and Michael Cragun discussed a wide range of issues for about 90 minutes Wednesday.
Some residents have strongly questioned the timing and speed of the recent board reorganization, suggesting the action was taken by the commission because of the advocacy of fluordation by some previous board members. One such questiong citizen is Bountiful's Davis Irvine, whose letter to the editor appears in today's paper. He has been active in civic affaris, including former service as a member of the Utah Public Service Commission.
"My position is that the voters passed a law saying water will be fluoridated. The Health Department will move forward to implement that (mandate)," said Cragun, who sits on the health board as a part of his responsibilities.
The "freshman" on the commission, he was elected to the position in January. An attorney, Cragun said as part of his effort to acquaint himself with his assignments, he reviewed ordinances relating to the Health Board.
"This process of updating the ordinance started in March. I read the statute, ordinances and bylaws, and saw it was a 47-year-old ordinance that didn't match (current) practices," Cragun said.
Changes were formulated in conference with the health director, county attorney, board offices, and Cragun, the commissioner explained.
"There were no ulterior motives" in any of the action taken to reoganize the board, McConkie emphasized. "There is no payback" for any board members who may've expressed strong views on fluoridation, such as proponent and former board chair Beth Beck, he continued.
"We talked to Beth Beck and Montie Keller," the only former board member to be retained as part of the new body, McConkie continued.
"I don't think more time and effort to appoint" any board members for any group was taken than with the health board action, Page said. "There were 16 candidates, 16 interviews (conducted) over two days."
Board candidates were not asked their specific views on fluoridation, commissioners agreed. "A couple" of applicants might've raised the issue in response to a question about health issues of current importance, they said.
The Clipper/Clipper Today questioned the commission about the speed with which the reorganization was effected -- it followed a closed meeting and was completed that same morning.
"We can't decide what we are going to do" before hand, Cragun said, citing Utah's Sunshine (Open Meetings) Act which prohibits discussing issues and making a decision without proper notification of the press and public. "We went into closed session, made the decision, announced it (following the closed session). We had had interviews (to fill board positions) the previous week."
He noted that "only two board members expressed a willingness to (continue to serve. (Beth) Beck had six months remaining in her term. We could've appointed her to a longer (extended) term." Buyt the commission chose not to, he added.
Insisting the board action had nothing to do with any former board members' views on fluoridation, Page emphasized "We (commission) don't have an option" on whether to move forward with implementing fluoridation. "We can't choose to put it (question on the issue) back on the ballot."
"Now we have marching orders for it (fluoridation)," McConkie said. "That has not changed. This (board reorganization) should in no way be read to (indicate a) change. We (commission) don't have the authority" to change what the voters decided last November."
MINISTER MISLEADS DAIL:
On 21/3/2000, the Minister of Health was asked, by J. Gormley (Green Party), if, "chromium is present in hydrofluoslicic acid, the fluoridating agent imported from Holland used to facilitate fluoridation of drinking water?" Minister Martin replied that the acid fluoride "does not contain chromium". FFW obtained a sample of this acid fluoride and had it chemically analysed at an independent laboratory in Dublin. This analysis confirmed our greatest fears, chromium is present and at similar levels as the arsenic also present. Minister Martin misled the Dail and the Irish people. This is misinformation at best or even fraudulent if Minister Martin is aware of the contaminants of this hazardous waste product of the fertiliser industry.
95 Merrion Square,
Dublin 2, Ireland.
Tel: 353 1 661 3033
Fax: 353 1 661 3399
CHEMICAL ANALYSIS CONFIDENTIAL REPORT No. W8158
Lab No. 23034
Sample Description: Hydrofluosilicic Acid
Date Reported: 14/08/2000
According to the Irish Medicines Board, this hydrofluosilicic
acid has never
been proven safe or effective and not surprisingly is unregistered,
unlicensed and not considered a medicine. So, what is it and why is it
untested? Why are we drinking unmeasured, uncontrolled levels of this toxic
cocktail without the freedom to make an informed choice?
5 Ways to Help STOP fluoridation: Log on to Citizens for Safe Drinking Water - Utah's Web site for details.
back to WaterAndLife.org - Utah (home) . Actions and Meeting Notices - Utah