Public Works director outlines concerns about fluoride

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In an email to Eureka Springs Alderman David Mitchell, Public Works Director Dwayne Allen cited a list of concerns about the state's policies for training workers handling fluoridation systems and for notifying cities about the amount of fluoride being injected into the city's water supply.

"The training is vastly inadequate and had to be rushed in for different regions," he said in the email. "I was certified in fluoride, by Mr. Greenway of the Arkansas Department of Health several years ago during a 24-hour course and now half a day is considered sufficient.

"As you know, the state is not open to discussion at this time but Eureka Springs has unfortunately become a test lab for the effects of fluoride on century old water mains," he said in the email.

Allen said he spoke at a meeting with Arkansas Department of Health officials last year about their plans to implement the law passed in 2011 requiring fluoride in certain water systems. Allen said he asked if health department officials could tighten Centers for Disease Control regulations and have Delta Dental's help with training workers, but the officials got angry and didn't listen.

He continued in the email, citing other concerns about fluoride levels.

"Everyone knows fluoride in high concentrations is harmful and still they [ADH] do not have to notify me until they reach 4 (milligrams per liter) and if you can imagine not stop injecting till they hit 10mg./l."

He also said in the email that he plans on expanding water sampling for the city and thinks the city can buy regents to test for lead, aluminum and fluoride.

"A fluoride analyzer is over $6,000 but we have a spectrophotometer at the plant, which we use for nutrient monitoring," the email said.

Allen also said he is checking on the costs for testing fluoride, lead and aluminum levels in a water system like Eureka's that is riddled with aging pipes and infrastructure problems.

"Lead tests cost about $15 each if you have a separate lead unit, which we do not. For lead, you cannot have any flow for at least six hours. I will compare the higher cost to purchasing equipment. Of course, we are only certified for certain substances, but if we detect any high readings we can have a lab verify them."

Allen said in the email that he tested for lead and copper in 10 spots before fluoride was added to the water supply a few weeks ago but the results have not come back from the state's lab.

"At some point I hope to have our lab certification expanded, which will save us quite a bit," the email said.

The Lovely County Citizen obtained a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding and contract between the Carroll-Boone Water District and The City of Eureka Springs for water services, dated Dec. 18, 1998. The contract states that, "the District shall produce a treated water which will neither corrode nor scale the transmission line or distribution systems of the user Cities under the normal range of domestic operations."

Resident Becky Gillette during Monday night's city council meeting said that CBWD is not in compliance with the contract because fluoride is corrosive.

"Corrosion of pipes is a fluoride concern," she said. "Carroll-Boone is supposed to be testing chemicals regularly and I asked them for the tests for arsenic, lead, barium and aluminum in the water and they said they don't test for that. They aren't testing chemicals onsite before putting them in the water."

CBWD also failed to properly test for bacteria in the water supply last year, according to a report

The Arkansas Department of Health's Annual Drinking Water Quality Report for 2014 for CBWD said that the district "failed to take bacteriological samples in multiple sampling periods" and that as a corrective action, it would resume monitoring for bacteria "as required by state and federal regulations."

The report also addressed lead, saying "lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing."

"We are responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components," the report said.

One site in the city tested over the action level for lead at 0.015 ppm, according to a 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality report published by Public Works. The report said the results are from the last monitoring period in 2012 and the city is "currently on a reduced monitoring schedule and required to sample once every three years for lead and copper at our customers' taps."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website, if lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 parts per billion or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 parts per million in more than 10 percent of customer taps sampled, the city must take corrective actions and inform water users about steps they should take to protect their health and "may have to replace lead service lines under their control."

Gillette said that because the state's health board officials failed to answer Mitchell's questions and concerns earlier this year, the state is violating the Administrative Procedures Act.

"David cited concerns about the corrosion of aging sewer lines leaching out lead and human health effects at his presentation, and the state health board has never replied," she said.

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  • Not a single doctor or dentist would prescribe a medication to you without ever meeting you or knowing any specific details about you. This is unethical and illegal.

    When did government bureaucrats become qualified to dispense medication (Fluoride) without a license? It is illegal for a doctor or a dentist to force anyone to take a drug or a chemical. This should be illegal for the government as well.

    Anyone desiring fluoride can add as much as they wish to their own glass of water, but it should not be added to drinking water, which forces everyone to consume it against their will. It affects the brain (lowered IQ), the bones (brittle bones, fractured hips & bone cancer), the thyroid gland, arthritis, etc. . It is linked with Alzheimer's and Downs Syndrome.

    -- Posted by jwillie6 on Wed, Aug 12, 2015, at 12:57 PM
  • Thank you Alana for keeping this important story alive. Thank you Becky Gillette for your research and factual information.

    The hazards of aging pipes are undeniable. Details, by Eureka Springs Public Works Director Dwayne Allen, appear on the Boiling Water story this week:

    "Allen said the break in the 8-inch water line happened around 4 p.m. Sunday and crews are working to "get the tank back up because we lost so much water. "He said the break was caused by the ground shifting from high temperatures and that one resident said he witnessed what looked like a landslide when the pipe busted. "We are looking at the west side, where our major feed is. The majority of the town on the west side was affected and that includes the East Mountain and Pivot Rock tanks and the 1894 stand pipe," he said. "By the time we got in and started working on the line, it was heading for disaster quickly and whole town was at risk for losing water."

    A 60-day moratorium for operator certification and a review of the quality tests at the water treatment plant is required. All it takes is an email from AHD to CBWB saying: "stop fluoridation for 60 days, tell customers what you are doing and how much water rates will increase."

    -- Posted by LeanDoc on Wed, Aug 12, 2015, at 1:07 PM
  • Many water engineers question fluoridation. This letter was sent out in a Fluoride Action Network bulletin regarding Denver Colorado

    Dear Water Commissioners,

    I am appealing to you again with my third and last submission of comments on your fluoridation policy. This one has to do with the well-entrenched policy statement on Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies of the American Water Works Association. If you choose to vote in favor of changing Denver's fluoridation, I can understand how AWWA may feel rubbed the wrong way, particularly since AWWA is headquartered in Denver. However, opposition to fluoridation is not new to them.

    Several years ago, as a previously long-standing AWWA member, I took an online survey AWWA was conducting. One question asked what it would take for me to renew my membership after having let it lapse. I responded that they would have to change their fluoridation policy. Previous to that, I sent comments during their periodic (5-year) review and update of their published policy. I pointed out the self-contradiction, i.e., "AWWA supports the application of fluoride in a responsible, effective, and reliable manner . . ." because adding fluoridation chemicals in and of itself is irresponsible considering the science associating fluoride with adverse health effects. The National Research Council's 2006 report on fluoride in drinking water is unequivocal in its conclusions that more study is needed to determine safe levels of ingestion. More recently the Cochrane review has suggested that ingesting fluoride is not effective at all for preventing tooth decay, and Ko and Thiessen (2014) have debunked the mantra that "every $1 spent on fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs," further diminishing fluoridation's ability to be done responsibly.

    My professional engineering licensure calls for me to hold paramount the public health, safety, and welfare in the practice of my profession. Knowing what I have learned and observed over the past six years, supporting water fluoridation violates that professional commitment. The ANSI/AWWA Standards allow the contamination of our drinking water with known carcinogenic heavy metals for which the EPA has established MCLGs of zero. To that I object, personally and professionally.

    If you look into AWWA's history of fluoridation policy, you will find one of the committee members for AWWA's fluoridation standards was an employee of the CDC. In fact, his position title at one time was National Fluoridation Engineer of the CDC. I may be mistaken of the exact year, but I recall it was in 2007 that fluoridating utilities were notified about an anticipated shortage of fluorosilicic acid. But the FSA suppliers were not the ones who sent the notifications of their supply shortage; it was the National Fluoridation Engineer who sent the notifications from his CDC office. Surely the CDC has a hotline to the FSA suppliers for that mailing list. My point here is that many of the leadership in the anti-fluoridation movement, including Dr. Connett, Dr. Hirzy, Dr. Carton, Dr. Limeback, Dr. Thiessen, and many others who have researched the science and history of fluoridation, recognize the deep infiltration of highest government level influence, frequently in collusion with the phosphate fertilizer manufacturers and private funding machines (primarily ADA, Delta Dental and PEW). We fully expect that you have been and are currently being confronted with pushback from those entities warning you against a vote for change. That pushback will likely continue after a vote for change, may very well include ad hominem attacks with insinuations of lack of responsibility or integrity, caving to junk science, possibly even veiled threats of dental insurance group rate premium increases. So be it. And they will congratulate you for being "responsible" in for voting the status quo.

    I also would like to comment on the cosmetic dentistry industry. We know that ingesting fluoride causes dental fluorosis, a cosmetic defect. Realizing of course that not all cosmetic dentistry is performed to mitigate fluorosis, I find the following interesting, and am curious to know how much is performed on fluorosised teeth:

    The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry estimates that Americans spend about $2.75 billion each year on cosmetic dentistry. Two thirds of cosmetic dentistry patients are female and 33 percent are male.

    According to the ADA, a person's smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature. (

    There is no doubt you will wrestle with pushback and ripple effects whichever choice you make. But the fact remains that if the status quo is your ultimate vote, the issue will not go away. The anti-fluoridation movement is growing commensurate with the increasingly available and instant access to knowledge never before imagined. The customers you serve are concerned about what they put in their bodies. Once they are educated as you have been, they will support you to the very end on your decision to change policy in a way that assigns a higher priority to their future health and that of their children than to corporate lobbying interests. Fiscal responsibility considering lack of quantifiable benefit, and yielding to higher priorities, is also a viable option and justifiable rationale for changing policy.

    The bottom line here is a face-off between the better future health of your customers, and the reputations of those in distant high places who perpetuate an obsolete policy and wrongfully mask it as being "safe and effective" for the public good. There are better ways to spend money on improving public oral health.

    Again, thank you for your deepest and heartfelt consideration of this issue.


    John Mueller, P.E.

    -- Posted by nyscof on Wed, Aug 12, 2015, at 7:48 PM
  • Let's clear up the confusion expressed in this article:

    1. " 'Everyone knows fluoride in high concentrations is harmful and still they [ADH] do not have to notify me until they reach 4 (milligrams per liter) and if you can imagine not stop injecting till they hit 10mg./l.' "

    "Everyone knows" that there is no substance known to man which is not harmful at improper levels, including plain water. This is why we have water treatment specialists such as Mr. Allen, who are charged with maintaining proper concentration levels of fluoride and all other routine additives to public water systems.

    The maximum allowable level of fluoride in drinking water (primary MCL) as mandated by the US EPA is 4.0 ppm. Fluoride below this level is in compliance with the EPA. Above this level is not.

    2. "Resident Becky Gillette during Monday night's city council meeting said that CBWD is not in compliance with the contract because fluoride is corrosive."

    The theory of increased lead uptake due to fluoridation substances in old pipes was debunked by Urbansky/Schock in 2000, and in 2006 by Macek. Although antifluoridationists still attempt this argument, it has no merit.

    "Controlling for covariates, water fluoridation method was significant only in the models that included dwellings built before 1946 and dwellings of unknown age. Across stratum- specific models for dwellings of known age, neither hydrofluosilicic acid nor sodium silicofluoride were associated with higher geometric mean PbB concentrations or prevalence values. Given these findings, our analyses, though not definitive, do not support concerns that silicofluorides in community water systems cause higher PbB concentrations in children. Current evidence does not provide a basis for changing water fluoridation practices, which have a clear public health benefit."

    -----Blood Lead Concentrations in Children and Method of Water Fluoridation in the United States, 1988-1994

    Environ Health Perspec. 2006 January; 114 (1): 130-134

    Mark D. Macek, Thomas D. Matte, Thomas Sinks, and Delores M. Malvitz

    "Overall, we conclude that no credible evidence exists to show that water fluoridation has any quantitatable effects on the solubility, bioavailability, bio- accumulation, or reactivity of lead(0) or lead(I1) compounds. The governing factors are the concentrations of a number of other species, such as (bi)carbonate, hydroxide, or chloride, whose effects far exceed those of fluoride or fiuorosilicates under drinking water conditions."

    -----Can Fluoridation Affect Lead (II) In Potable Water? Hexafluorosilicate and Fluoride Equilibria In Aqueous Solution

    Urbansky, E.T., Schocks, M.R.

    Intern. J . Environ. Studies, 2000, Voi. 57. pp. 597-637

    3. "Corrosion of pipes is a fluoride concern," she said. "Carroll-Boone is supposed to be testing chemicals regularly and I asked them for the tests for arsenic, lead, barium and aluminum in the water and they said they don't test for that. They aren't testing chemicals onsite before putting them in the water."

    All water at the tap must meet all EPA mandated quality certification requirements under Standard 60 of the National Sanitary Foundation. Fluoridated water easily meets all of these requirements. If there is concern that the local water at the tap is not being properly monitored, this is an issue which needs to be addressed with the local water treatment specialists. It is not an issue with fluoridation.

    Steven D.Slott, DDS

    -- Posted by Sslott on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 7:24 AM
  • Slott is often wrong; but never in doubt.

    Concerning the Macek study, Macek shows children's higher blood-lead-levels are associated with water fluoridation when lead is already in the environment (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2006) such as in older homes.

    Masters and Coplan further explain Macek's flaws:

    Neurotoxicology. 2007

    Silicofluorides (SiFs), fluosilicic acid (FSA) and sodium fluosilicate (NaFSA), are used to fluoridate over 90% of US fluoridated municipal water supplies. Living in communities with silicofluoride treated water (SiFW) is associated with two neurotoxic effects: (1) Prevalence of children with elevated blood lead (PbB>10microg/dL) is about double that in non-fluoridated communities (Risk Ratio 2, chi2p

    -- Posted by nyscof on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 8:41 AM
  • "Nyscof"

    Allow me to reiterate Macek's findings. There is no association of optimal level fluoride with "children's higher blood-lead-levels.

    "Overall, we conclude that no credible evidence exists to show that water fluoridation has any quantitatable effects on the solubility, bioavailability, bio- accumulation, or reactivity of lead(0) or lead(I1) compounds. The governing factors are the concentrations of a number of other species, such as (bi)carbonate, hydroxide, or chloride, whose effects far exceed those of fluoride or fiuorosilicates under drinking water conditions."

    Urbansky refuted Masters and Coplan in 2000. This still applied for the 2006 M&C rehash.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    -- Posted by Sslott on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 9:42 AM
  • In response to the issue of training that Public Works Director Mr. Allen states is not adequate, I would like to offer simple solutions to this problem.

    The CDC offers Water Fluoridation Training twice a year for Water Utilities Staff (supervisors, operators, etc) that is free of charge. It is also often taken by state workers that oversee water operations. The only cost is for the attendee's travel accommodations and meals.

    These courses are complete with training on the history and background of fluorides in water, proper handling of water fluoridation additives and personal protective equipment, fluoridation equipment available AND proper maintenance of that equipment which is vital to its longevity, equipment/plant design, troubleshooting questions from attendees, testing of water using simple to sophisticated fluoride measuring equipment (cost factors differ), impact of fluoridation of water systems on the huge reductions in cavities by everyone living in the community, and many other facets of everyday work that water operations involves. Plus, the attendees receive needed continuing education credits that are required for recertification.

    The CDC Water Fluoridation Course is being given this fall in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. You would need to contact Kip Duchon, P.E., at the CDC to register for this course. It is given again in Sacramento, California in February 2016. Certainly if the city would choose to pay for this training, and it is a very wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars, it would be best to attend the course this fall.

    Information on the course can be obtained here:

    I have personally taken the course in February 2015, and I can tell you that the information that I saw gleaned by water supervisors and operators was phenomenal. Many came to the course very skeptical and slanted against water fluoridation. However, after hearing and experiencing the hands on training and exposure to the literature and science behind what they are doing, they left with a great understanding and positive attitude for the fantastic job that they are doing in their work, and for the dental health of the public.

    Johnny Johnson, Jr., DMD, MS

    Pediatric Dentist

    Pinellas County, FL

    -- Posted by DrJohnnyJohnson on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 8:21 PM
  • In regards to the concerns regarding the aging pipes and infrastructure carrying the fluoridated water to the consumers, there is great information on the CDC's website on this as well. It is based on the credible scientific literature that has been conducted extensively to determine if any issues exist from adding the fluoridation additive to new or aging water piping.

    The good news is that fluoridation additives do not cause corrosion of the pipes of the water system.

    When your own test results are returned, you will feel much better about the validation of this information. If you have questions that are not being answered at the local or state level, please feel free to contact Mr. Kip Duchon at the CDC. He is always available to discuss your concerns and any issues that you may have.

    Johnny Johnson, Jr., DMD, MS

    -- Posted by DrJohnnyJohnson on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 8:40 PM
  • In regards to the statement that the State doesn't require the utility to stop injecting until the level of fluoride in the water reaches 10mg/L is not in agreement with EPA guidelines or CDC Water Fluoridation guidelines.

    Proper monitoring of the fluoride level at the city water plant is required for communities that fluoridate. Depending on how the testing is set up, there are usually split samples (two samples) of the water taken to analyze. One is analyzed at the plant, and the other at the state lab. If local and state results differ markedly, then immediate follow-up is recommended.

    Under no circumstances have I ever heard that fluoride content is allowed to continue until you reach 10mg/L. The EPA Maximum Allowable Concentration of fluoride in drinking water is 4mg/L. Well before this level is reached, and your own testing would discover this daily, you would call upon your experts at the state or federal level to enlist their help. They would not allow 10mg/L to be reached in your water system. They would not be in compliance with federal law.


    -- Posted by DrJohnnyJohnson on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 8:54 PM
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