Water additive bill filed in legislature
LITTLE ROCK -- House Bill 1205, subtitled the "Arkansas Water Additive Accountability Act," will have the support of the Carroll-Boone Water District (CBWD) water operators, Office Manager Jim Allison said Monday.
The purpose of the bill, filed Jan. 24 by Rep. Loy Mauch of Bismarck, is "to establish criteria for substances added to public drinking water for purposes unrelated to potability; and for other purposes."
The bill was read once, with rules suspended, read a second time and then forwarded to the Committee on House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, where it was due to be considered Tuesday.
The bill, if signed into law, will require public water operators to obtain proof of effectiveness, safety, purity and lack of adverse health effects from the supplier of any substance to be added to the water in order to prevent or treat disease.
Water operators would not be able purchase such substances unless these documented proofs are furnished by the supplier, which would include published and unpublished toxicological studies. This information would then be furnished to the public. The bill also requires disclosure of the source, i.e., country of origin of such additives.
The bill notes that more and more chemical products are coming from China, Japan, Russia and Mexico, "with no state requirement for batch testing for content and impurities or disclosure of origin" and that lack of knowledge about such chemical impurities affects the ability of medical providers, Homeland Security and agencies dealing with environmental contamination to make accurate assessments.
The bill notes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave up enforceable oversight of drinking water additives in 1988. The only bodies governing additives in Arkansas are the National Standards Foundation, a non-governmental agency, and the Arkansas Water Works Association. These agencies have "no direct responsibility to health agencies or the consumer," the bill states.
The bill also cites recent public discussions of "the prospect of adding lithium to the public water to alter human mood imbalances, and statin drugs to affect human cholesterol...."
The bill would also affect fluoride in the drinking water supply.
Mauch told Arkansas News reporter John Lyon he was approached by a grassroots watchdog group, Secure Arkansas, to file the bill.
Secure Arkansas says on its website its mission is "to ensure state sovereignty and adherence to the Constitution while promoting responsible government practices, fiscal accountability and the protection of personal property rights and civil liberties of all Arkansans."
On Monday Allison sent a letter, signed by all 12 water operators at the Carroll-Boone plant, in support of the bill.
"We take very seriously our responsibility to protect our customers from contaminants in their drinking water," Allison wrote. "The bill would put the burden of proof on our vendors who supply the product and establish a safety net for our water operators.... We have always been open and transparent to our water customers and House Bill 1205 would help us and our consumers have the facts regarding what is used in their potable water."
Carroll-Boone currently does not fluoridate its water. It answers to the four member cities who established it: Eureka Springs, Berryville, Green Forest and Harrison. Twice in the past, Harrison, Berryville and Green Forest have requested the water be fluoridated. Eureka Springs turned the decision over to a vote of the people, who turned it down.
"Fluoride is available over the counter in the form of toothpaste or drops to those who want it," Allison said. "The people of Eureka felt they wanted a choice. Putting it in the water gives them no choice."
Earlier this month the Centers for Disease Control, after decades of promoting the benefits of fluoridated drinking water, released a statement that 40 percent of children in American show signs of dental fluorosis and recommended reducing the levels in drinking water to .7 mg/L, where it had before recommended 1.2 mg/L.
As early as 2006, the American Dental Association said infant formula should not be made with fluoridated water or foods made with fluoridated water given to children under one year old.
In 2008 the National Kidney Foundation also stated fluoridated water should not be used in dialysis treatments, as it was dangerous to patients.