The following letter by Thomas G. Sanders (chairman of the city Water Board) was sent to the City Council prior to a May 27 study session on fluoridating city drinking water:
I am sorry that I will be unable to attend the very important work session ... when you will be discussing the potential for discontinuing the practice of fluoridating the city's drinking water. With the possible exception of the proposed Halligan Reservoir expansion, I consider this the most important water issue that has confronted the Water Board and City Council in the last three decades.
As you may know, I am a sanitary engineer by training and served in the U.S. Public Health Service for two years and in the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 (before it officially was the EPA). I supported the fluoridation of public water supplies without question then and 30 years later.
However, after we were asked by council in 2001 to look into the issue, which I initially considered a waste of time, I found in the numerous reports and the peer review literature many problems associated with the continued practice of fluoridation.
For example, I had been under the impression that the Food and Drug Administration had approved it as a medication many years ago; that the fluoride added was reagent quality and not a hazardous scrubbing waste from fertilizer processing; that there were no trace heavy metals added; that ingestion was the mode by which the fluoride gets to the teeth; that fluoride was not present in most drinks and food; that infants less than 6 months old were unaffected by fluoride; and that there were no data nor research regarding other negative health impacts.
I personally feel that I, my profession, my former employers, the USPHS and EPA have done a major disservice to the public to have blindly supported fluoridation without truly understanding and researching the negative consequences and impacts to the public.
I also am disappointed with the dental profession and its almost fanatical support of fluoridation, ignoring the increasing information about its negative effects and chanting the same mantra for the last 40 years, namely, "it is safe and effective."
And finally, I do not believe that the political compromise resulting from intense, internal pressure, suggesting a reduction of the fluoride dose to 0.6 milligrams per liter will be beneficial as none of the issues against fluoridation raised by the Water Board are mitigated by this "straw man" alternative.
There will be no savings of $500,000 in capital costs and $100,000 per year in operating costs; there still is a danger to operators handling the acid and the public when it is transported; 99.9 percent of all the added fluoride will go down the drain or on the lawns; and the city will still be medicating the citizens of Fort Collins whether they want it or not.
I sincerely hope that you will end the controversy now and vote to immediately stop fluoridation of our drinking water so we can move on to other issues.