Posts Tagged Health Unit
The prescription pad says
Fluoride is safe and effective for preventing tooth decay and artificial water fluoridation is a cost effective means of getting this medicine out to the population. So says the government health and dental agencies. But they don’t define what ‘fluoride’ they’re talking about when they speak in favour of the artificial water fluoridation program. So, let’s get to know the fluoride that is actually put in our water supply as medicine for our teeth.
The product Windsor Utilities Commission has decided to use is called hydrofluorosilicic acid and ours comes from Solvay Chemicals. This particular product is not a pharmaceutical grade product, like you’d find in your dentist’s office. Rather, it is an industrial grade product that is otherwise known as a waste or by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. A short history of how this product came to be:
In the 1960’s Florida passed laws restricting air emissions because the fluorine from the phosphate industry was found to be harming citrus trees and causing fluorosis in cattle. Wet scrubbers were introduced to phosphate manufacturing to remove two highly toxic gases that were damaging the local vegetation and animals: hydrogen fluoride (HF) and silicon tetra fluoride (SiF). A spray of water is able to capture the gases and convert them to a solution of hydrofluorosilicic acid (H2SiFS or HFSA). When the solution reaches a concentration of about 23% it is shipped untreated to be used as the fluoridating agent[i]
The answer to air pollution is tooth medicine? To make matters more concerning this tooth medicine is contaminated with arsenic and lead. Promoters of artificial water fluoridation rely on dilution of approximately 180,000 to 1 at the water treatment plant to bring all the contaminants in the wet-scrubbing liquid below regulatory levels. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum contaminant level goal for arsenic at zero because it is a known carcinogen – there is no safe consumption level for a cancer-causing chemical. Dilution is not good enough. One of the questions Fluoride Free Windsor has posed to the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC): is there arsenic and lead in the water before WUC adds the fluoridation chemicals and if the levels of arsenic and lead increase with fluoridation, by how much? We have been assured by the chair of the commission that all our concerns and questions will be answered.
Contaminants aside, surely the health agencies can speak to the safety of ingesting hydrofluorosilicic acid?
We have been advised by the current WUC Chair that “Fluoride was first introduced to Windsor water supply at the request of the Public Health Unit in 1953.” One would think that the WUC would be in the business of supplying the cleanest water possible, and council would be in the business of deciding for the safest water possible. SO, if they’re willing to add a contaminated chemical to the purified water as medicine they MUST have been presented with some very convincing data, from the Public Health Unit, that it is safe for the whole population to ingest hydrofluorosilicic acid everyday for their lifetime. On November 2, 2011 the AM800 Lynn Martin Show discussed the topic of water fluoridation. On the show was our local Medical Officer, Dr. Heimann. Listen Here
Lynn begins her interview with Dr. Heimann by asking him: is it true what opponents of artificial water fluoridation say, that the product (hydrofluorosilicic acid) has never been tested for safety? Dr. Heimann answers by saying it is not true, that fluoridation of water has been studied and continues to be reviewed since its inception. Lynn notices that Dr. Heimann didn’t answer her question about the product, it seems she wants him to clarify what fluoride product is considered safe and so she asks a second time ‘if the product that they use is regulated and approved by Health Canada?’ Dr. Heimann having been asked the same question twice is clearly uncomfortable and says ‘I beg your pardon?’ So Lynn proceeds to ask the same question a third time. And here we finally get the truth about the actual product used in fluoridation. Dr. Heimann admits that hydrofluorosilicic acid ‘doesn’t specifically have a regulatory requirement’ although he never does actually say the product’s proper name. He goes on to say fluoridation chemicals are regulated by the Fluoridation Act and Drinking Water Act but is never able to confirm that the actual product has been tested for safety. Could it be that Health Canada has not tested and does not regulate the tooth medicine, hydrofluorosilicic acid, used in the artificial water fluoridation program that they endorse and recommend municipalities employ? If the product has been tested and shown safe wouldn’t Dr. Heimann want to share that with us? Lynn asks the Health Unit doctor if he has anything further to add, we can hear him rustle papers as he finds what he’s supposed to say, as the local Medical Officer of Health, about the artificial water fluoridation program. He tells us that fluoride is naturally occurring but notice he again avoids defining which fluoride chemical he’s referring to and as we’ve already learned above hydrofluorosilicic acid is definitely not naturally occurring.
Perhaps the Public Health Unit was more convincing in 1953, to sway council so?
It is tooth medicine after all, maybe the dentists know if it’s safe?
The opportunity to ask a dentist promoting artificial water fluoridation as to the safety of ingesting hydrofluorosilicic acid came on November 17, 2011 when the Windsor Star ran an article by Dr. Mady titled Fluoride has many benefits for teeth. Dr. Mady states “Systemic fluoride is an excellent source because it is constantly delivered through our saliva.” Systemic, as in when you drink the fluoride as opposed to the topical application of fluoride, such as the dentist would do in his/her office, when they warn you not to swallow it. The article provided Dr. Mady’s email address and instructed any questions be forwarded to him. Great! Here is a bit from the letter a Fluoride Free Windsor member sent to Dr. Mady:
Can you confirm that the product the Windsor Utilities Commission uses, called hydrofluorosilicic acid, is a safe and effective form of preventing tooth decay? I am not concerned about the topical application of fluoride but I am concerned that I can’t seem to find any toxicological study that ingesting hydrofluorosilicic acid is safe for my young children. Also, can you confirm that hydrofluorosilicic acid is safe for infants, children, the elderly and the ill (folks with diabetes, thyroid issues etc..)? I’ve consulted both the Health Canada websites and the Centre for Disease Control websites The Health Canada information indicated that while they endorse water fluoridation they do not test or regulate the product my utility company is using. They also indicate that too much fluoride is bad for us and that individuals should monitor their own fluoride intake. This concerns me because fluoride does come from many sources including from places I’m sure I’m not aware of. I also have one child that drinks a ton of water more than the rest of our family and I worry that she could be getting too much fluoride but I don’t know how to determine this. Must I wait until she shows signs of fluorosis before I know – isn’t that too late?!
The Dentist doesn’t know if hydrofluorosilicic acid is safe for ingestion either:
“I can’t confirm anything related to the Windsor Utilities Commission. If you have any inquiries related to their water systems I suggest that you contact them directly. I can describe the benefits of fluoride for our teeth as I did in my article but any questions related to our water suppliers must be directed to them. If you are concerned about fluorosis with respect to your child’s teeth, consult with your dentist.” Replied Dr. Mady.
Disappointed that the government dental health representative couldn’t speak to the safety or effectiveness of ingesting hydrofluorosilicic acid, though thankful for the doctor’s reply, the member’s response:
Thank you for your reply. When I contacted my local utility they said that water fluoridation was endorsed by the health and dental associations but they have not responded as to whether the hydrofluorosilicic acid they use has indeed been tested and found to be safe or effective. It is disheartening to read endorsements of water fluoridation, by professionals such as yourself, and find that you’re not able to actually speak to the product being used in the practice you’re endorsing. I’ll continue my search for the science and proof that this is indeed a safe and effective practice as promoted by the government health and dental agencies and I’ll pursue a follow-up with my local water provider – surely someone somewhere has the toxicological science I’m looking for to feel good about following your endorsement.
So, hydrofluorosilicic acid might not be safe, no one promoting it seems to know BUT is it at least effective?
Has the local health and dental agencies studied our population to determine that citizens from Windsor, Tecumseh and Lasalle are deficient of fluoride to justify their recommendation that the whole population be indiscriminately medicated with hydrofluorosilicic acid? Surely they have convincing data that the folks from the non-fluoridating towns of Leamington, Kingsville, Essex, Wheatley, Ruthven and Harrow have higher rates of dental caries than the customers of WUC? We asked the Essex County Dental Association for these statistics and they replied that they didn’t have any such statistics. However, there are some statistics we can observe to help us evaluate the effectiveness of the artificial water fluoridation program. The Globe and Mail ran an article on April 15, 2010 titled Fluoridation may not do much for cavities. They graphed data from Statistics Canada, a copy shown here.
The stats compare barely fluoridated Quebec to Canada’s most fluoridated province of Ontario as well as the dental health statistics of Canada as a whole. In all age groups the difference in number of dental caries was LESS THAN ONE! Are we drinking industry’s waste to prevent half a cavity? These dental caries trends are confirmed by the World Health Organization’s data comparing countries that do fluoridate with the majority of countries that do not.
So far our search for proof and toxicological science to support the claim that artificial water fluoridation is safe and effective has left us wanting and wondering what the government health and dental associations’ endorsements are based on?
Fortunately, the importance of addressing these concerns and many other questions we have asked the Windsor Utilities Commission has not fallen on deaf ears.
Windsor Councillor and WUC Chair, Bill Marra has stated
I want to assure you that each one of your questions will be fully addressed in a report that will be forthcoming to the entire Windsor Utilities Commission. Our senior administration is literally putting together a report that will provide the historical context of this issue for the commission, it will provide background information including but not limited to the questions you have tabled, it will also provide relevant stakeholder feedback and information from agencies such as our Regional Board of Health and our regional dental association etc… There will also be a discussion related to our duties and responsibilities, as Commissioners and elected officials, within the context of the Fluoridation Act of Ontario and specifically focus on options available in Section 3 of the Act which speaks to the “Discontinuance of system” (Fluoridation Systems). Once this very thorough report is completed, it will be tabled to the WUC as an agenda item in a public forum…. As decision makers with both WUC and City Council, we need to ensure that we have valid and accurate information on this matter so that a well informed decision can be made in the best interest of our entire community.
And sure enough, at the Regular Commission Meeting held November 10, 2011 the following was moved by Mayor Eddie Francis and Seconded by E. Sleiman under New Business:
A discussion ensued regarding Fluoridation. The Commission wishes to take a proactive approach with respect to the ongoing fluoride debate. To that End, WUC administration has been asked to contact the surrounding communities to determine their stance with respect to fluoridation in the water system. Furthermore, a fluoridation report will be forthcoming at an upcoming Commission meeting.
Is it unreasonable for parents to want to see clinical data proving the safety and effectivenss of a medication before giving it to their children every day of their lives?
If you have concerns about the lack of safety and effectiveness proof available to support the artificial water fluoridation program – please let the policy makers of Windsor, Tecumseh and Lasalle know about it. Our municipal governments are the ones responsible for the decision as to whether we get medicated with this industrial waste tooth medicine. We should have been consulted BEFORE our municipal representatives agreed to do as the Health Unit requested. But, IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR OUR COUNCILS TO VOTE TO END ARTIFICIAL WATER FLUORIDATION.