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Fayette commissioners have their doubts about fluoridating our water

It is written into state law and cannot be violated. But that is not stopping most on the Fayette County Commission from wanting to know more about the effects of fluoride added to the county’s water supplies.

The informal consensus of the commission is that fluoridation should be reviewed, while two on the commission believe the long-held practice should end due to adverse health effects on citizens.

Commissioner Allen McCarty said the amount of money spent to fluoridate the county’s water supply is small, totaling $4,550 during 2012. Yet the idea of saving a relatively small amount of money by wanting to de-fund the line item was secondary to the health benefits derived from not adding a known poison to the drinking water of Fayette’s communities, McCarty said.

“Fluoride is a very hazardous, dangerous and reactive chemical that accumulates in areas of the body like arsenic does,” McCarty said. “There are health problems due to it and it should be removed from our water. It’s an unnecessary expense that’s harmful to citizens’ health.”

Even if the Fayette County Commission wanted to stop fluoridation, the board would be unable to do so due to a 1983 amendment to state law that requires local water systems to fluoridate their water supplies. Unlike many other states where local officials and the public have a choice, the Ga. General Assembly allows no such choice for Georgia citizens.

Because it is mandated by law, Fayette County would be in violation of state law if it did not fluoridate its water supplies.

Commission Chairman Steve Brown last week said board members had discussed the fluoride issue informally, adding that all have some concerns about the chemical being added to the water supply. The commission needs to explore the issue, Brown said, noting that at some point a committee could be formed to study the issues.

Offering his comments, Commissioner Randy Ognio said, “We’ve talked about it and we’ve got to investigate it to see how we can get rid of it. It needs to be gone.”

Commissioner Charles Oddo said fluoridation causes him concern and that he would like to see the topic investigated.

For his part, Commissioner David Barlow said he is currently reviewing all the county’s issues with water, including chemicals such as fluoride that are added to drinking water supplies.

Though essentially unchallenged for decades and touted as a positive contributor to dental health by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association, the position that fluoride is causing health issues in humans has been the subject of much more recent research findings. A number of those studies show that the industrial chemical added to water supplies is a developmental neurotoxin because it causes brain damage in young children.

The Harvard Review in 2012 published the results of a meta-analysis of 27 studies on the relationship between fluoride and human intelligence and concluded that 26 of the 27 studies found a relationship between elevated levels of fluoride and reduced IQ in children.

“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” said Dr. Philippe Grandjean, environmental health scientist with the Harvard School of Public Health. “The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”

Fluoride is listed as a “chemical with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity” in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 database of “Developmental Neurotoxicants.” The list also includes chemical compounds such as nicotine, aspartame and lead.

And the National Research Council in 2006 concluded that, “It is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain.”

Fayette County adds sodium fluorosilicate to its drinking water supplies.

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