That's something they'll never get. Fluoride suppliers routinely refuse requests for such information. Activists and government officials alike in Florida, Arkansas, Washington and other states have tried in vain: one Florida councilman wrote to 30-plus vendors and received not a single response. Now Utah is saying: “No info, no sale.”
It's obvious why the vendors don't want their product information getting out. If it did, the criminality of selling the stuff for human consumption would emerge. However, they can't entirely prevent leaks. We have this document from Lucier, the direct predecessor of Mosaic Co., Austin's current fluoride supplier. Same operation, same product, different name.. It's exactly the kind of analysis Utah now demands, and it bears the caution: DO NOT SEND OUT. Indeed.
To take just the most obvious example of why they might not want it sent our: here's arsenic, a deadly poison we're all familiar with. It says you can typically expect 0.0035% arsenic in their witches' brew of unpurified scrubber liquor. Using a handy online converter, we see that that translates to 35,000 parts per billion: 3,500 times the what the EPA allows. Of course, it's not drinking water yet; it has to be diluted. If anyone poured it directly into Lake Travis, they'd be arrested. Yet the Austin Water Utility daily dumps it into our drinking water supply, where it's diluted to about 0.3 parts per billion. That might not sound like much. However, EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level GOAL is ZERO. i.e. there is NO safe level for arsenic, and yet here you are adding it day in and day out So people who are aware of this are understandably unhappy.
That's all for now. I'll return to this subject at a future date. Thank you.
At citizens communication on December 13, 2012 - the last City Council meeting of the year - an absurdity unfolded of a sort rarely seen on camera. Philip Greene was speaking: he urged the Council to heed the weight of evidence that ingested fluoride is not merely unnecessary but actually detrimental to the health of many. In ending, addressed the Council as to whether they had any studies which showed fluoride to be either safe or effective.
There was no response, of course. While Mayor Leffingwell waited in grim boredom for the buzzer to sound, councilmembers Bill Spelman and Laura Morrison enjoyed a joke together. This is a not unusual occurrence between the two "techies" on the Council, and is reminescent of the days when Randi Shade and Mike Martinez would sometimes put their heads together - literally - under the dais. (Sharing iPhone pictures, perhaps?). Councilmembers seemingly feel free to behave rudely during citizens communication, perhaps assuming that no one of consequence will notice them.
But Linda Greene noticed. And in turn, she called them out roundly on it. It was then that Spelman, known for his often quirky responses and clearly nonplussed, offered this extraordinary explanation:
"I wasn't laughing at Mr. Greene's speech. I was only laughing at my own inability to control myself."
Spelman, a professor at UT's LBJ School for budding bureaucrats, speaks the most arcane variant of bureaucratese I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot. But as one of the seven lords before whom we're expected to supplicate, it befits us to understand what he is saying. Did he really laugh at his own inability to control himself? Or was the laughter a result of his inability to control himself? In either case, what exactly made that so funny to him? To councilmember Morrison?
He went on to try to explain that he wanted to engage with Philip Greene on the merits, but had to forego the opportunity, implying that rules prohibited Council from interacting with speakers during citizens communication. While it's true such a state law does exist, the Austin City Council members routinely violate it, especially on pressing matters like dog parks and billboards.
Here's a YouTube of Spelman requesting more information of another Fluoride Free Austin speaker, Darcy Bloom, nearly a year ago. (the information was provided but no followup ensued).
So will Spelman and Philip Greene have their conversation - and, more importantly, will anything useful come of it?
Who knows? My own observation over more than four years of steady advocacy tells me that this Council has made little to no attempt to deal with us in good faith; that they're supremely uninterested in tackling an issue that holds a combination of scant rewards and great (perceived) political danger for them; and that they're wheel spinning in place, waiting for the clock to wind down and praying that fluoridation doesn't end on their watch.
But time is running out. The whole nation, not just Austin, is waking up, and they may not get their wish.
Meanwhile, if Spelman is laughing because...well...whatever that reason was he gave...then I just might be Whistler's grandmother.
Good afternoon, Mayor and councilmembers. Throughout our four years of speaking at City Hall against water fluoridation, one element has been conspicuously absent: the low income children in whose name the practice is implemented. Theoretically, the city fluoridates to provide “social equity” to economically disadvantaged children approximately 5 to 11 years of age— the period when the permanent teeth are coming in
I thought of this recently when I happened to discover—from the U.S. Census Bureau’s website—that over 20% of Austinites live below the poverty line today. That’s 162,000 people. This group doesn’t have much of a political voice. I can’t bring their kids here. But I can count them—again, from the Census Bureau’s 2010 Austin fact sheets. Within the age group in question: ages 5-11, there are 11,842 boys and 8,669 girls, making a total of 20,500 elementary school aged children. The City’s solution to their dental problems is to annually throw a half million dollars’ worth of toxic fluorosilicic acid into the community water supply, for them and everybody else to drink. That discharges all your obligation to them according to the CDC, whose marching orders you follow.
Are these kids getting any real dental care? We know 80% of dentists don’t accept Medicaid. We also know that you, the City Council, have no idea what—if anything— the city spends on direct dental services for our neediest children, because you’ve admitted it. Outside entities, it would seem, have taken over that responsibility.
The St. David’s Foundation Dental Program is one. They operate a fleet of mobile dental offices that rotate among AISD’s 50 Title 1 elementary schools, providing free dental care. This includes fillings, X-rays, root canals, extractions and emergency care, plus preventive measures like cleanings, sealants, and oral hygiene education. In school year 2009-10, they saw nearly 6,000 patients, most from Austin schools, and provided about $4.2 million in services.
80% of the second graders St. David’s personnel screened that year had identifiable oral problems. Yet those children grew up drinking fluoridated water. It doesn’t work. The city of Austin spent a half million dollars on fluoridation and got nothing. Half a million would buy and stock one of those dental vans. Or support the operation of one for a year. It’s time to put the taxpayers’ money to better use.